View Full Version : When to hand in a novel?

06-03-2013, 10:48 PM
When do you send a novel to your agent? I've been going over the whole manuscript for a few months now but every time I look at it, I find new things to change about it. But I'm afraid I'm already a bit late handing it in and the agent might be getting impatient. A little help? :flag:

06-03-2013, 11:01 PM
Well, I would tell you to post your writing in the SYW section to see what you could fix in the writing department, but you need 17 more posts. I don't know your writing, but it could use another eye on it.

Then there's beta reading, which if the SYW section comes up fine, you should be good to go for them. Ask for betas either from the SYW thread or put a listing up, and see how your storytelling has worked out according to them and make the changes you wish.

When everything turns out fine, your writing is strong without problems and the betas have approved of the story, then you start querying.

I strongly suggest the SYW section. If you hadn't had another eye look over you stuff, it's like driving blind.

Siri Kirpal
06-03-2013, 11:18 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

If you've already got an agent--and it sounds like you do--then go ahead and send it. The agent will give commentary as necessary. If you have time, though, you can run it by a beta reader.


Siri Kirpal

Aggy B.
06-03-2013, 11:24 PM
I find that I can always find something to tweak in any story (short or long) that I write. But when the tweaks get down to a word here or there, I send it out. If I'm still seeing big "issues" that beg to be rewritten, I wait.

06-03-2013, 11:30 PM
Thanks! Yes, it's more down to words now, sometimes paragraphs that I think need to have a better flow. But I don't have to rewrite entire passages or add anything for the sake of the story.

Cathy C
06-03-2013, 11:39 PM
a) I doubt your agent is getting impatient. More than likely, s/he's swamped with other work.

b) I can assure you there won't be a time when you're "done" with it. Heck, I could take one of our books down off the shelf in the bookstore and continue to tinker with it. :ROFL:

Pick a date to stop and stick with it. As a final check, make sure the chapter numbers are consecutive, and there are page numbers on each page. Then, put it in "print view" and do a quick scroll down to be sure that nothing is horribly wrong (like once when I found a Center command on the chapter heading had centered the entire chapter! :eek: )

Then attach it to an email and press "Send." Your agent will forgive little things and trust me that the things s/he'll find won't be the things that you'd thought needed to be fixed! They'll be the things you didn't even realize needed to be fixed. :D

S/he'll love you anyway so never fear.

It's all good...

06-03-2013, 11:44 PM
Question: Do you have an agent? You said "the" agent, so I need to question it.

06-03-2013, 11:48 PM
Don't obsess over every little nuance of the book. If it needs tightening or editorial work, you agent will point that out to you. Stop. Wrap it up and send (without fear or anxiety). You'll be glad you did.


06-03-2013, 11:54 PM
Thanks, everyone! Yes, I do have an agent. But it's the first time that I will send the whole thing to her and I am being something of a perfectionist about it. Thanks for the comments, I'll take just a couple more days and off it goes!

06-04-2013, 02:41 AM
I know you said you have an agent but even so, if you haven't already, I suggest a beta reader first, even if it's just to check for major discrepancies and a quick proof. I remember reading a blog post from an agent who's quite active on Twitter, I can't remember who exactly, about receiving manuscripts from a certain author whose work was constantly riddled with obvious mistakes.

Corinne Duyvis
06-06-2013, 03:52 PM
I wouldn't send anything to my agent that I hadn't gotten beta-ed yet, but what I send her is definitely rougher than what I'd send out for queries. My agent is pretty editorial (which I like) and if big plot edits are needed, best to figure it out earlier in the process. Plus, then she knows what I'm working on.

I'd generally check with the agent though. People have different preferences.

06-06-2013, 06:12 PM
As soon as I type "The End".