Queen of Sharks:
With a dozen traditionally published books under my belt, I'm trying something new: Querying agents with a fiction proposal. Go big or go home, right? This will be a paranormal mystery with an amateur sleuth and recipes included if desired. I'd like to branch out from cozy, especially since I already write horror under a pen name; but if cozy will sell. then cozy it shall be.Do I have everything I need?For book 1: A brief synopsis. A query. The first 3 chapters.For books 2 and 3: One-paragraph teasers.It goes without saying that before I start querying I will have set up the backstory, detailed character charts, a small mountain of research, and a complete outline for book 1.
I'm going to leave aside the question of querying an unfinished book.
I know you, I love your work, and if you queried me, I'd tell you I won't take on a novel that isn't finished.
But, you didn't ask that.
For book one, yes you need a synopsis, and a query, and a whole lot more than three chapters.
At LEAST 100 pages if not more. Three chapters can be 30 pages in ms form. You need all of Act One at least, if not the start of Act Two.
For books 2 and 3, you need at least 250 words or a full page.
When you ask someone to take something on spec, you need a substantial showing of what the work will be.
I can hear you saying, "But SharkForBrains, I have 12 published novels!! Why can't I sell this on proposal?"
What I'll tell you is you might be able to, but it's a whole lot easier to whip up enthusiasm for a finished book, than one that isn't.
And you WANT enthusiasm at this stage of your career.
You NEED people ferociously committed to your career cause without a big breakout book it's harder and harder to stay published these days.