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earlyAMwriter
06-12-2008, 02:13 PM
My name is earlyAM and I made a rookie mistake.

My 'top pick' agent recently announced that her client list is filling and she may close submissions. I had been working on a novel and completed a first draft with a couple of edits, both self and beta. I thought about and decided to craft a query. The query included all the normal stuff: the letter and the first few pages of the MS. I knew she would reject it. My plan was to judge the quality of the query by how fast the rejection appeared in my inbox.

Well, you guessed it. She responded within three days with a request for the FULL and a proposal. Skipped right over the partial.

Oops.

So I did the best I could, giving myself what I felt was a reasonable four days to continue to refine. You know the tale of woe that follows, don't you? There are no huge issues, but there are missing commas, a few typos--you for your, her for he, etc. The stuff your eye slides over and spell check won't catch.

I just can't recover from this mistake. I've entertained the idea of emailing her and letting her know that I've since refined even more, but I know that's the even bigger kiss of death.

Talk me down, fellow writers. Slap my hand if you must. Tell me to move away from my keyboard and wait for the inevitable rejection. It might all be for naught anyway; it might be the quality of writing or the story she rejects, not the typos. Right?

If she does respond with something like "I like the writing/story but the MS is messy" how should I respond?

Thanks in advance. I really am a rookie. Flog as you see fit.

JJ Cooper
06-12-2008, 02:27 PM
You won't be judged by a couple of spelling or grammatical errors. Chill. It's not a rookie mistake - means your timing was right. I did something similar and before you know it I had an agent and a good publishing deal. My MS is with the editors at RH now, spelling and grammatical errors included I'm sure.

All of us send in work with mistakes. To err is human. I think you have done the right thing. Sometimes writers tend to go overboard with the editing aspects because the advice is generally edit until your eyes bleed. I don't subscribe to this theory. We're all different though.

Leave the MS as is. Don't change it. Take a break or start outling another project.

Congrats on the full and enjoy the ride. You've done extremely well just to get a request. Therefore, trust in your abilities and don't fret over a couple of small errors. Use that anxious waiting time to do something different.

JJ

earlyAMwriter
06-12-2008, 02:37 PM
Thank you so much, kind sir.

Starwise
06-12-2008, 03:59 PM
Yep, the same exact thing happened to me, too, and I've heard general comments saying that for the most part, an agent looks for the quality of story, plot, characters etc etc. and not necessarily how many commas are missing or whether or not the title is centered right and blah blah blah. In the grand scheme of things, none of that matters.

Hell, I read Nathan Bransford's blog once, and he made an entry about how he's not going to pass up a manuscript after reading a MEDIOCRE query letter about a really AWESOME premise for a book. That says something. Many agents, if not all of them, look for great ideas. Not perfection. :D

Stacia Kane
06-12-2008, 04:56 PM
When doing revisions with my agent on the book he signed me for, I found several typos and even a couple of small continuity errors. This after rereading/editing the thing so many times I lost count. :)

Personally I believe voice is the most important thing, followed very closely by characters and story.

Good luck!

earlyAMwriter
06-13-2008, 12:30 AM
Thank you all for your replies. You have eased my mind. It will probably still be rejected, but at least I know I wasn't a complete dolt to walk through the open door. :)

gettingby
06-13-2008, 12:43 AM
Don't stress about it. And stay positive. My first proposal that went out wasn't in perfect shape, though, I hope it is now. Anyway, I think I came pretty close with that agent because even though it was a pass she suggested other agents that might want to take a look. Good luck!

ChaosTitan
06-13-2008, 12:48 AM
When doing revisions with my agent on the book he signed me for, I found several typos and even a couple of small continuity errors. This after rereading/editing the thing so many times I lost count. :)

Personally I believe voice is the most important thing, followed very closely by characters and story.


Ditto all of this (and we're still working on revisions). If the agent loves it enough, most times they'll work with you to polish it up.


If she does respond with something like "I like the writing/story but the MS is messy" how should I respond?

Depends on if the agent tacks a "I'd be interested in seeing a revised version" to the end of that, or not. :D