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Timing non fiction queries


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#1 ClaudiaB

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 06:45 PM

Given the long response time from agents, does it make sense to query before having sample chapters ready to go? I have a proposal with all the parts and pieces, somewhat detailed chapter outlines, and a few samples of published work -- but frankly, I'm hesitant to put in the miles writing and polishing chapters if no one's going to be interested, anyway.
Any advice?

#2 Jean Oram

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:28 PM

Do not query before a sample chapter is ready. Some agents reply pronto. You don't want to have to make them wait a month while you write a chapter, let it sit, go back and edit, edit, edit. So, while it may feel like you are spending time on something that may not pay off, it is the way the business works. Same with novel writing! If nothing else, writing will help you hone your craft, voice, etc. (And anyway, what were you going to spend that time doing anyway? :wink: )

If you honestly feel that nobody is going to be interested, then you need to reassess your project. If you simply fear putting the work in on speculation, well, then maybe this kind of writing isn't for you. (But don't worry--you are not alone--we all have feelings like that and I totally get it.)

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#3 mwsinclair

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 03:35 PM

I agree with Jean. Get your proposal in shape before querying and that includes sample chapters.

And like Jean said, you are not alone.




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