|Querying too soon can break your heart|
Let's talk about things we know are coming, eagerly anticipate, but still catch us completely by surprise.
We spend years writing our novels, so it's only natural that when we're done (or think we're done) we hurry to write our queries and send them out as fast as we can. Sometimes we even justify this by saying, "Publishing moves so slowly, by the time anyone asks for pages I'll be able to tweak those last few things in my manuscript."
Resist this urge.
Yes, publishing often moves at a glacial pace, but sometimes it's an avalanche. You want to be ready if it all comes racing at you. It probably will be months before you hear anything, but what if that query you slaved over hits the right ear at the right time and the day your query lands, the agent asks for pages? Or worse (or is that better?) the full manuscript.
Sheer fantasy you say? Not really. From the day I sent out my first query to the day I signed with my agent took six weeks. Queries turned into partial requests within days. Partials turned into fulls within two weeks. My queries were spaced out a bit, so the agent I ended up signing with took ten days from when I pitched her to when she signed me. That's right -- ten days. Had I not been ready, I would have wasted that opportunity and I might not have an agent now, or have gotten a three-book deal with a major publisher.
Trust me, I know how hard it is to have an almost-finished manuscript and all you want is to start querying. But use this time as an opportunity to polish everything you can to a brilliant shine. Work on your query for a few weeks while your manuscript sits, so when you do that final read, you'll see it with fresh eyes and catch the things you glossed over before. And let your query sit while read your novel, because when you go back to it after, you'll see ways to make it even better.
Waiting an extra month or two can seem like a huge delay, but sending out a manuscript that isn't quite ready will put you even further behind. And break your heart doing it.
Have you ever queried too soon and paid the price?