Let’s say you are silly enough to query your ms while you are still editing it, thinking, “oh, it’ll be 3-4 weeks at the soonest to go from query to partial to full, even submitting online.”
Lo and behold, you get a reply from one the same day requesting a full. Oops!
Question: Do you as an agent prefer to be notified that the ms will not be forthcoming immediately but as soon as the editing is done, or are you so busy generally that a month down the road really is nothing to worry about?
Oops is right. No matter how often we preach against it this happens again and again, and no matter how many times I say it drives me crazy, I’ve offered representation to more than one author who has done this.
My first recommendation is to edit carefully and without haste. The biggest mistake an author makes in this situation is worrying more about getting the material to the agent than about making the material the best it should be. It doesn’t do you any good to be fast if the book isn’t any good. And yes, I would let the agent know. She might be sitting there waiting for it and worrying that you’ve already signed with someone else (yes, we worry about this all the time) or afraid you didn’t receive her request. The best thing you can do is let her know that you’re finishing up edits and will have it to her as quickly as possible.