I recently got feedback from a well-known, award-winning author in my genre about the first two chapters of my MS. The author was very positive and enthusiastic, while also giving me great notes on what I needed to improve.
Sad woodland creature that I am, once my initial euphoria moderated itself, I began to wonder whether I could include this in a query. My guess is that for a read-through of two chapters, and not even the final version, the answer is "probably not." But I also hold out hope that the author might be willing to read the entire thing.
Should I mention it in a query as it stands now, or if the author does end up reading the whole MS? How would I refer to it ("So-and-so has read it and said I'm the bee's knees*")? Should I ask for the author's permission?
* they didn't actually say i was the bee's knees but it was clearly implied
Well, I'm sure you are the bee's knees but I don't really care if anyone else thinks so. The only opinion I care about is my own.
You're right to hesitate to include this in a query particularly since the Well Known, Award Winning Author only read a partial.
And you did not mention the circumstances under which this reading occurred.
I'm sorry to dash water on your bee wings, but if it was in conjunction with a writing contest, or a writing conference, chances are the WK,AW,A did not point out the flaws.
I'm very careful at writing conferences to be helpful rather than critical. When I'm assessing manuscripts in the safety of my writer-free Lair, no such compunction exists.
The value of this is that clearly you can write, and WK, AW,A gave you some validation of that. That's not nothin' in this cold cruel world. That it's not going to be useful in your query doesn't mean it's not useful to you.
The only exception to this is if WK, AW, A is one of my clients. Then you'd lead with that in the query, cause I think my clients are pretty astute readers.