I sent a query to an agent this morning and received a request for the full and a synopsis this afternoon. I'm through the roof, but also panicking. The full isn't an issue, but I don't have a synopsis. I have a full of the same manuscript out to another agent currently and they never requested one, so it just hasn't come up. My question is, do I write a slap-dash draft and send as soon as possible, do I respond and explain that I don't have one but that I'd be happy to draft one, or do I have some time to get back to her? I don't want to commit a rookie mistake that costs me my chances, and I don't know the etiquette when this happens.
Well, there's nothing you can do here short of calling the agent and telling her she's a dunderhead for asking for a synopsis that would cost you your chances of representation. Since, we know you're not going to do that (being a blog reader, and a person of common sense) stop worrying.
Here's what to do: email Agent Speedy Gonzalez and say you don't have a synopsis ready right now but you will soon.
Then get your tail feathers in gear and write a synopsis. You're going to suffer mightily doing this, so lay in the choccies and the vodka and your favorite movies.
You should plan to have it done in no less than five days from sending the email. If she's as quick as she seems, you don't want to keep her waiting much longer than that AND you don't know if she reads the synopsis before the manuscript (some agents do.)
Me, I burn the synopsis while chanting invocations to the publishing deities.
And of course this serves as a gentle reminder that before you query, you have a synopsis ready. And a completed manuscript. Yes querying can take forever and you might be tempted to start before you finish the novel, but this is a classic illustration of why you don't do that.