I’m going to start this post with a little choose your own adventure type scenario:
So you’ve written your manuscript, given it an edit, and sent it off to betas. Not wanting to sit there twiddling your thumbs, you write your query. You post it somewhere to be torn to bits by your writing friends, or the helpful critiquers of Absolute Write, rewrite the thing seventeen million times, and you’re feeling great about it. It's beautiful. Then your list of agents to query starts to stare at you. You can hear it calling out to you, and you yearn to start sending queries.
a) Go ahead and send a couple queries—or hell, maybe even more than a couple. You’re ready enough!
b) Stare yearningly at both your email and list of agents, but ultimately decide to wait.
I hope it’s obvious which option is wiser. (Option b!) And here’s why. Let’s say your comments come back from betas, and although they think your story is fabulous, they see a couple of issues that are going to take some thought to fix. Maybe a character issue, maybe a subplot that’s not quite working. But uh oh, all of a sudden, you get a full request from one of those harmless queries you sent out. And now you’ve only got a few days to fix your problem.
Do you think that doing a fast edit in a few days is going to give you the same results as if you ruminate on it and then give yourself all the time you need to change everything you're unsure about? Or what if the request comes before you’ve received any beta comments at all, and you don’t realize you have a problem until it’s too late?
You love your manuscript, right? And you want it to be published? Pull back on the reins, don’t let your horse out of the gate before the race has even started. You have to adore everything about your manuscript before you can expect an agent to. So take a deep breath and give yourself the best chance you can.
Sidenote: don't forget about the post below this one. You can still win a copy of Break--the contest doesn't end until Wednesday, August 26th. So get your comment in!