I am one of the many who follow your blog - often silently, lurking in the shallows but always close by.
I recently had a short story published (spec-fic) in a pretty respectable magazine. It was my biggest sale to date and a real boost to my confidence.
A week later, I received an email from a credible literary agent (who represents a handful of the most well known writers in Australia) asking if I was working on anything long-form, as they would be interested in seeing my work.
I currently have half of a novel and explained this.
Essentially, they have said they would like to read it when complete and consider me for representation.
My mind is officially blown!
Now, of course, the terror begins.
I have another 30 000 words of this thing to write and a whole lotta editing/streamlining/cleaning up to do before it is ready to read.
I also have two young kids, 2 jobs, various volunteer roles, and am currently in the process of building one house and selling another.
I am swamped. I'm desperately trying to carve out more time from life for my writing but there's not a lot to work with. Less sleep is the only option.
My question is, how long might they be expecting it to take me to complete this draft?
I don't want to shoot myself in the foot by sending it off half-baked but I also don't want to squander this amazing opportunity! I'm thinking 3-6 months is likely the best I can possibly hope for in terms of delivery. Are they likely to still care by then?
Yours in terror,
First, let's remember the most important thing here is not to make yourself crazy. You have a full life and a lot of responsibilities, and getting enough sleep isn't an option, it's a requirement.
The agent reached out to you asking if you had work ready. You said sortof/maybe/kinda. They did NOT say "oh never mind." They said they'll read it when it's ready.
No agent in their right mind expects you to finish and polish a novel in three months if you're writing on spec.
If you have a contract and some signing money that's a different story.
Do not send it half baked.
You'll squander a lovely opportunity.
The truth is you don't know how long it will take. Life has a habit of smacking you in the expectations just for fun.
Plus you may write the thing in three months, but take it from me, your revisions will take another three months if you do it right.
And now for the question: They will still be interested. I keep open files on writers I've reached out to in the past. I don't close them unless they sign elsewhere or die.
Take the time you need. Don't rush and don't dawdle. Make sure you don't rush your revisions.
More than anything other than bad writing, failure to revise enough is the biggest problem I see.