Please send it along… memoir request

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object of my charm

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So. I've sent out a few queries out for my memoir. And I've had three bites. The first two asked for sample writing - yay - easy to send. The most recent agent just said: "Please send it along."

But, um, I do not have a full manuscript to send her. I have a polished 50 page sample, a 75 page sample, and a chapter overview.

Have I totally screwed up by querying something I don't have a full manuscript for? I was under the impression sample pages and a proposal would do the trick for creative nonfiction, by someone who is already a published author.

The question is this - how do I reply to the agent. Do I just send her the sample and see what happens… or?
 

cornflake

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I believe memoirs are queried like novels - that is to say they're pitched by query and expected to be complete.

Nonfiction is pitched by proposal, which is an extensive deal including market comparisons, chapter breakdown, why the book will sell, why you should write it, etc., etc.

So, unless I'm confused - in which case someone will be along to correct me - you shouldn't be querying an unfinished memoir, nope. As to what to do now options abound I guess. I might try the polished sample and an explanation, but I can see other choices.
 

veinglory

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Memoirs are typically meant to be complete. But if in doubt just be honest, say it is a work in progress and send what you have.
 

kenpochick

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An oldie here, but yeah. And more info here. Memoirs are queried like novels so they're supposed to be finished.
 

object of my charm

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Damn - was worried that's what you might say. But a big thank you for your responses. It does seem like, though, that memoir can be written in a creative nonfiction way...
 

veinglory

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It is not really about how memoirs can be written or could be classified, this is just an industry norm.
 

object of my charm

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The other agents who requested the memoir only asked for "sample pages" and a chapter outline. Oh well. I read somewhere that some publishers prefer to represent memoir that is only partially written so they can have a hand in shaping the manuscript. Which makes sense. If dreaming…
 

Jwriter

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Thank you for posting that link, Kenpochick. It's a big help.
 

veinglory

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The sample request is for the initial query. Most memoir agents and publishers want a completed work. Even with non-fiction that is queried before completion not a lot of shaping went on in my experience.
 

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