About a month ago I requested the full manuscript of this amazing novel. I loved the concept so much that immediately upon opening the package I read the first three chapters. They were terrific: well written, enticing, exactly what the market is looking for right now . . . I loved them. I emailed the author to ask her to send the full manuscript and couldn’t stop talking about it at our weekly meeting.
And then I got back in the office. The author actually didn’t have the manuscript done, but wondered if it was okay to submit as soon as she did. I sighed. I hate when this happens because it takes the wind out of my sails. I told her that of course I’d love to see it whenever it was completed, but to take her time. The mistake here is that an author’s biggest concern is getting me the book and not making sure the book is perfect. It’s happened to me many times that an author has submitted without a completed project, and sometimes it’s worked out and sometimes it hasn’t. In a couple of situations I’ve ended up with authors who were able to finish the book and I did offer representation. In most situations, however, by the time I finally got the book the market had changed, I’d lost my enthusiasm for the project, or (worse for the author) I found another, very similar project, and took that on instead.
There’s a reason agents want a manuscript finished when you’re submitting. Unless you’re a published author (and can therefore prove that you can, indeed, finish a book successfully), it’s imperative that you finish the entire book, make sure it’s edited thoroughly, and have actually started your next book (so you know the first one has to be done) before submitting.
In this case the story gets even worse. I can’t stress enough how perfect this book is and how much I truly, truly love it and think it’s exactly what today’s market is looking for. The concept alone will have editors jumping up and down. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been proven to me whether or not the story can hold. About a week or so ago, the author emailed me. She was so sorry, but she isn’t finishing the book. She’s had difficulty with it and has turned to other ideas at this time (ideas that, by the way, aren’t nearly as marketable).
WHAT!?!?! I almost cried.
I guess this proves just one of the many reasons why an agent wants a book finished before it’s submitted. I wasted time, energy, and a whole lot of enthusiasm on that book. Maybe someday it will reappear, but who knows where I, or the market, will be by then.