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Full manuscript read, but not ready


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#1 lake

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 04:11 PM

Hello All,

 

I went to conference and an agent read my first two pages; she enjoyed it and asked for a full...I'm thrilled, however, my beta reader and a few others think that the rest of the story needs to be polished before sending it -- polishing may take awhile but I do agree with them - Do I :

 

a) Send the agent a note saying it was nice to meet you.... I am in the process of polishing my novel to appeal to you more --- or something like that

 

b) Send the agent the m.s as it is and hope for the best even though I know it needs to be better

 

c) don't do anything until it's absolutely ready and hope that the agent remembers me

 

d) ???


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#2 Niambi

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 05:11 PM

Polish it as fast as you can (within a week maybe) then send it to them with a note explaining that it was quickly looked over.



#3 dogsbody

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 06:12 PM

Oops.

 

I recommend otherwise: option B, send the m.s. as-is, while the memory of interest in your story is fresh in the agent's mind. "Unpolished" is not a sin. If it's rejected it'll be for major issues or because the agent just doesn't connect with your story on a personal level after all. If they like it but they think it needs work, they might ask you to "revise and resubmit."

 

You really are supposed to wait until your manuscript is in its final form before shopping for agents, which guarantees you don't waste anybody's time... like you would if you ask an agent to wait until it's "ready." 

 

So yeah, unpolished can be fixed, but I wouldn't want you to come across as unprofessional to someone who's looking to enter a long-term business relationship with you. I say send the agent the manuscript, work on the revisions in the meantime with your betas. That way if the agent gets back to you with similar suggestions, you're two steps ahead of that game. (And might make up for being unpolished in the first place.) If the agent has different suggestions, you can work from your old draft and maybe create something head and shoulders above it in the end. If the agent says "thank you but no thanks," you know not to get caught this unprepared ever again. 

 

But congratulations on your full request! And best of luck. 



#4 Gibber

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 03:36 PM

DO NOT TAKE OPTION B. You get ONE shot with an agent, so sending something you know is less than your best is absolutely shooting yourself in the foot. That's the worst thing you could do. I'd take the time to revise (as quickly as possible while making sure you do all the necessary work) and when you do send it, mention in the opening paragraph of the query, "Hey, I met you at so-and-so at such-and-such date and you said...". They'll know.

 

In all my querying, I only got one R&R. If they like it but there's problems, they've got twenty other books that they like that might not have major problems and they'll just pick one of them and send you a rejection.

 

Publishing is *ridiculously* slow (I got my agent in November and we're still working on revisions before sending it out on submission) and rushing it does you no favors. You don't show up at a last-minute job interview in rumpled clothes you just pulled out of the hamper.



#5 Litgal

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 03:41 PM

Listen agents are not waiting with baited breath and counting minutes. They live insanely busy lives. So polish. And you can certainly take more than a week to do so. Can you get it in shape in a month? If so then just send it when it's ready referencing the event you met her at and her request in your cover note. 

There is a larger lesson here though--do not query, or make agent appointment until your manuscript is 210% ready. It's hard to get a bite at the apple and it usually takes more than one to get an agent so don't waste any


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#6 Thrash

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 05:48 PM

I went to a conference and had an agent ask for the full based on the first ten and I mentioned that I was working on the middle. He said "take your time".  Stuff happened, I made major re-write decisions, and it ended up taking me a year.  He didn't respond. So the lesson here is I guess do what you can!  I'd do "A" but try not to take more than a couple months to revise



#7 dogsbody

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 10:51 PM

Usually I don't think it's an issue to take some time to revise -- and have seen agents say the same -- but what worries me in this case is the lack of electronic paper trial. 

 

You don't have an email to respond to in which the agent said "I'll like to see a full" and where they can see they did, in fact, request a full from you -- however long ago that was. (Unless you do?) My fear is that if you wait too long, and then send an email with an attachment saying "you requested a full at [x] conference," they may have forgotten, they might not believe you, and they might delete the email outright. Because I've heard agents complain of unscrupulous writers who lie about things like that.

 

But it's very possible I'm being paranoid. Again, best of luck to you, and you should be proud of your full request.

 

(And yeah, don't query until you're ready next time! :smile: ) 



#8 dogsbody

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 11:41 PM

Absolutely NOT an attempt to undermine your advice, but just for the sake of discussion:

 

 If they like it but there's problems, they've got twenty other books that they like that might not have major problems and they'll just pick one of them and send you a rejection.

 

True, but I don't think of "major problems" as something than can be fixed in a quick revision. Many agents don't seem so over-burdened with manuscripts they truly connect with that they're not willing to work with something promising, even if it's not quite up to snuff.

 

Gibber, I can see you have an agent (congrats!) but I'll just leave this post from an agent's perspective on what can earn an R&R for anyone else who'd like it.



#9 Thrash

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 12:37 AM

Personally, I think this email can do nothing but good. If not needed, it's not burdensome:

 

Dear X,

It was very nice meeting you at X and thank you so much for your advice regarding Y and your interest in my book, (title, genre). I've been working on some sections with readers and polishing parts of the book that need it, but will send it along as soon as possible. 

 

 

This would NOT BE GOOD if you had queried her in writing, but agents at conferences know writers attend to learn as well as network, and that will attend & pitch even if not 100% ready to formally query to get feedback. Your feedback is the best possible result.  






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