Thursday, September 29, 2011
The Right Time to Query
For example, it's probably not a good idea to start querying after you've finished your first draft. The manuscript will be as rough as a porcupine pillow. I know of no writer who has a quality manuscript after the first draft, no matter how long it took them to write it.
It's also probably not a good idea to start sending out your manuscript to agents and publishers if no one else has read it. Critique partners and beta readers are essential, even for seasoned writers. No matter how talented you might be, you will miss mistakes trusted readers will be able to catch.
Many of us are the impatient sort and we want to start querying the day we declare our manuscripts finished. It's probably a better idea to wait two weeks, read through it again and then send it. I've heard agents say to wait two months before sending.
Of course, there have been exceptions to the rule. I know of an author who sent only the first three chapters of an unfinished book and scored a contract based on that alone. But remember, that's the exception.
The publishing game is a slow one. There is no need to hurry when it comes to our first books. As Jennifer Hillier said in an interview with herself found here, 'Write the best book you can. DON'T RUSH – enjoy the fact that with your first novel, you don't have a deadline and can take your time. When it's ready, and not a day before, start querying. And never, ever give up.'
How do you know if you are ready to query?