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Edmond Dantes
04-13-2011, 06:12 AM
I've just finished my first novel and I'm ready to send out the queries.

That being said, and maybe this might be a *really* dumb question, but please forgive the newbie...

But whenever an Agent writes that they accept queries and please attach the first X amount of pages to the bottom of the email (not as an attachment.)

Do they mean the first X number of single spaced pages or do they mean double spaced?

Any insight would be great.

Thanks!

Becca C.
04-13-2011, 06:19 AM
Manuscripts should always be double-spaced :)

Edmond Dantes
04-13-2011, 06:23 AM
Yea, I figured as much.

Any way I can get away with sending the complete 1st chapter instead of the first 5 pages (which is only half of the chapter)?

fourlittlebees
04-13-2011, 06:25 AM
What Becca said, but Edmond, I'm going to be blunt, because I checked out your blog.

You are absolutely, 100% NOT ready to start querying agents.

Believe me, I know the excitement of having your book done and wanting it out there and getting picked up. But I can also tell you from first-hand experience that the book you finished six days ago (and edited in those six days) is not the book you really want to send to agents.

Things you need first: outside crit (not from a friend of family member), a beta reader (who will tell you if the story goes off track or has plot holes you didn't see), and time.

Books are like Jell-O. They need time to gel, and it really does take a village to get them ready for an agent to see. The very last thing you want to do is send something off, and then realize a month or two (or more) later that you could have, should have, would have, fixed something or rewritten something, or caught that typo or fixed that plot hole, but in the meantime, you've already let that agent see your manuscript and it was, essentially, only partially dressed.

Don't go out there with your slip showing.

Edmond Dantes
04-13-2011, 06:31 AM
thank you, for bringing me back down to earth.

I think I needed that.

In all honesty, the book has been sent off to two editors and I'm going through the list of things that you suggested I need to do.

I kind of just wanted to send one off to an agent (one that's not close to my top few picks) as kind of a pipe dream/reality check.

I figure, I haven't been rejected yet and yes, I'm running off the emotional high of getting over the mental block of actually finishing a novel-length project so it's either I get rejected (which, obviously would be the first of many times) or the pipe dream becomes real.

Either I learn and it toughens me or it works out, right?

Giant Baby
04-13-2011, 06:35 AM
Yea, I figured as much.

Any way I can get away with sending the complete 1st chapter instead of the first 5 pages (which is only half of the chapter)?

Send exactly what they ask for in their guidelines. If they don't specify, then adding five pages to the bottom of your query is generally acceptable, but a chapter at twice that length would be a bit much. The idea is that your first five pages should entice the agent to want to read more. Do that, and you'll get to send much more than the first chapter.

Giant Baby
04-13-2011, 06:44 AM
Either I learn and it toughens me or it works out, right?

Nothing wrong with learning. You could learn a lot before you burn a query, though. You're doing it now. I don't see the logic in sending out a query when you know you're not ready. Honestly, a request could be the very worst thing that could happen in that case. Fortunately, if you're avoiding the dubious and the scammers, that's unlikely to happen. So, again, what would be the point?

Get your book ready, learn a little more about the biz. There's nothing wrong with the fact that you had to ask whether a manuscript is single-spaced or double-spaced, but it suggests there's a lot of good information here and elsewhere you should pick up before submitting.

Edmond Dantes
04-13-2011, 06:48 AM
Oh reason and rationale. Curses on the lot.

But, thanks.

fourlittlebees
04-13-2011, 09:00 AM
I have to say.. I wish I had done more than lurk in the Bewares forum before I started querying. I know so much more than I did even a year ago and I still feel like I don't know anything. :D

And I think I'm on my 8th revision now. But this is it. I swear. Kinda.

PinkAmy
04-13-2011, 02:46 PM
Yea, I figured as much.

Any way I can get away with sending the complete 1st chapter instead of the first 5 pages (which is only half of the chapter)?
Sending twice as much as they ask for is disrespectful because it shows a lack of consideration for the agent's time and direction. You could get away with sending 5 1/2 pages to finish the chapter, but not double.

jclarkdawe
04-13-2011, 04:31 PM
Yea, I figured as much.

Any way I can get away with sending the complete 1st chapter instead of the first 5 pages (which is only half of the chapter)?

For an email query, think about it as sending the first 1,200 to 1,500 words. It will be single-spaced, with a hard break between each paragraph, the same way I'm writing this. It is put at the bottom of your query, and formatted like this to prevent problems with formatting from different programs.

But your statement shows a classic confusion by many beginning writers. Put in a very inelegant manner, you're hoping that if you throw enough crap at the agent, something will stick. It doesn't work this way.

The first line of your query needs to cause the agent to read the second, the second the third, and so on and so forth. When the agent gets done reading the query, the agent should want to read the first line of your manuscript. Reading the first line should cause the agent to want to read the second, and so on and so forth.

Quantity doesn't matter, but quality does. At the end of the first 1,200 words, the reader needs to want to read the next 1,200 words. And an agent needs less than 200 words to decide to reject. Hell, over 90% of submissions can be dealt with in less than 50 words.

You can send 1,200 words, or 2,400 words, or 24,000 words, or 240,000 words, but if the reader stops at 200, does it matter how many you send? Instead of worrying about how much you can send, worry about whether what you send will cause someone to want to read further. Because if you don't do that, it doesn't matter how much you send.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe