Tuesday, August 06, 2019
Rant: querying unfinished novels
Only after I emptied the coiffure-sized fire extinguisher on my spontaneously combusted hair, did I realize my NO!NO!NO! shriek reply on Twitter wasn't self-explanatory.
So, why is querying an unfinished novel a TERRIBLE idea?
Do I need to tell you it's harder than it looks to finish a book? If I do, this is your first book. More times than I care to remember has an "almost finished" novel been administered last rites and laid to rest in the steamer trunk.
You're querying something that hasn't been revised. If you finish and send it within a short amount of time, you haven't allowed enough time for revision. When I read it, I will know. And most likely you'll get a pass with "not fully cooked" as the gist of why.
Notice neither of these have to do with concept or execution. Or the writing. You can really shoot yourself in the foot by querying EVEN A GOOD NOVEL too early.
You're starting out on the wrong foot. I request the full, you reply with "it's not ready yet" and the implied "I just wanted to test the waters" means wasting my time is ok with you. Also ignoring the very specific guidelines that are there to help you avoid rookie mistakes like this.
Those are NOT qualities I'm looking for in a client.
You're free to ignore any guidelines you want. The QueryPolice will not show up at your door. There's no Ignored the Guidelines Blacklist. But, it's also not effective.
Your goal isn't avoiding the QueryPolice; it's getting an offer of representation.