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View Full Version : Advice - how slow can I be?



smalleststar
05-22-2006, 02:52 PM
I just got a response from HM&B here in London for the Modern/Present line. I'd sent in 3 chapters and a synopsis and they like it - yay!!! But the snag is I haven't written the rest, I need another 40,000 words. I didn't pretend I had written it, I just didn't say. Their letter says: "....if the manuscript is complete we would appreciate receiving it for further consideration."

I would love to bash straight on with it, except I'm up to my ears in revision and preparation for some professional qualifications that I just have to get right. I can't see I'll have any time for this until July. I could probably get it finished and good enough to send off by early August. I'm scared in case I've just caught a window of opportunity and they go off the boil. I haven't a clue how the process works. Will they be OK about it if I explain the situation and my timescale? Or would I do better to stay up late and do this once my little boy is in bed? I guess it would only take a month or so of late nights. Maybe that's not so bad. I want to get it right, of course, that's why I was thinking it'd be better until I really had time to concentrate.

Sorry if I sound a bit rambling, I just got the letter so I'm quite excited.

aruna
05-22-2006, 03:47 PM
If I were you, I'd do the stay up late nights thing - except, in my case, it would be get up two hours early.
I can imagine how excited you are - but just imagine if you do put it off a couple of months, and when you get back to it the window of opp. is closed, or your enthusiasm for the book has faded!
There's no time like the present - get on with it.

Whatever you decide, good luck, and congratulations!

jchines
05-22-2006, 04:49 PM
I've heard a number of agents say not to query until the book is finished. Not only because you end up in this sort of situation, but what happens if you finish the book and end up having to redo the beginning to make it all work? (This happens to me quite often...)

In this case, I would try to write it ASAP and hope for the best. If you can finish it within a month, that would hopefully make the window.

Best of luck. Whatever happens this time around, you now know you have a query and 3 chapters that can grab and hold an agent's interest, and that's nothing to sneer at :Thumbs:

smalleststar
05-22-2006, 06:02 PM
Thanks guys for your thoughts. I am inclined to go for it as quickly as possible. I'm trying to see how small a space I can squeeze the other stuff into. I know I have to get that out of the way or it would interfere with my concentration too much - especially as it's academic style writing, I know I would find it hard to make the switch. I'm thinking I might be able to start work on finishing the romance early in June, with an eye to having it ready to send off by the end of June.

I had the impression (but I really am a novice) that it was OK to send in partials for romance publishers like HM&B without having the complete M/S. Was that a big mistake? Should I reply to the editor telling her when I'll be able to get the complete manuscript to her? That would seem polite, wouldn't it?

Crinklish
05-22-2006, 11:06 PM
I had the impression (but I really am a novice) that it was OK to send in partials for romance publishers like HM&B without having the complete M/S. Was that a big mistake? Should I reply to the editor telling her when I'll be able to get the complete manuscript to her? That would seem polite, wouldn't it?

Romance publishers aren't generally different from other commercial publishers in that regard--if you're a brand-new (previously unpublished) author, Harlequin wants you to have the complete manuscript ready when you query. (That's because in most cases here, editors can acquire only completed manuscripts from new writers; only once you've been published do we buy on proposal.)

That said, your instincts are right--a quick note indicating that you'll be delighted to send the ms. as soon as it's completed, which will be around August, is courteous. And although you should of course strive to finish the ms. quickly, I think most editors would rather have your best work than a hastily-finished novel that gets there in a week.

BuffStuff
05-22-2006, 11:28 PM
Yes, send the letter @_@

smalleststar
05-23-2006, 12:17 AM
Thanks for your advice. I'll send the letter and work as fast as I can without spoiling the tone. Fortunately, I do write really fast! But I won't make this mistake again.
Thanks again
D.

Kasey Mackenzie
05-23-2006, 11:10 PM
I wouldn't stress too much about having done that this time, but in general romance publishers operate in the same manner as others. They prefer to see completed manuscripts from previously unpublished novelists, but often do accept partials (i.e. synopsis and first three chapters) from previously published novelists.

However you decide to proceed, good luck! =)