100 page taster/work in development

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
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silverback
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100 page taster/work in development

Post by silverback » March 10th, 2013, 6:00 pm

Hi, would it be a complete waste of time to forward a 100 page taster of an unfinished novel to an agent? I have two objectives for wanting to do so - the hope of interesting an agent in the finished work, and, bottom line, to get feedback in lieu of that interest. If it's pie in the sky, then could somebody suggest where I might get feedback from a professional able to comment on my story/style and chances.

Many thanks!

Silverback.

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Hillsy
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Re: 100 page taster/work in development

Post by Hillsy » March 11th, 2013, 7:51 am

Simple answer - Yes. There's a very good chance you'll be given the finger, followed by invective of such ferocity and filth it could LITERALLY kill a priest. Course you won't know about either as you'll likely be ignored (as to why and how do your research - check out various agent blogs, writer blogs. There's also probably plenty of good articles out there on good and accepted query practise).

For Professional feedback I'd say you're stuck to 4 methods.
1) If you personally know/are related to/are sleeping with a professional editor/agent/author/publisher...get them to look at it
2) At various conventions, or even through the more unplanned events in life, you meet a professional. After getiing to know them in a pleasent way they may offer to run an eye over something for free, because you're so nice and paid for cocktails etc
3) Enter and Win a competition from an agent/author....Many of them offer, from time to time, a 30-100 pages critique of any work (completed or in progress) as a prize to the winner
4) Pay for one - either through a professional editor, or through charity auctions.

For unproffessional feedback
1) Join a writing group and have them critique your work.
2) Stop someone in the street and beg for their help.

Basically you're naturally looking for short-cuts.....Don't worry, we all are....unfortunately there rarely are any. Your best hope for non-specific professional help is a Crap-Ton of research....and you'll learn about the agent/querying process at the same time.

Mark.W.Carson
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Re: 100 page taster/work in development

Post by Mark.W.Carson » March 11th, 2013, 11:31 am

Agents are business people. They happen to be in the business of books. Your 100 pages, if unfinished, unless you are some godly writer with talent oozing out of their pores, is going to be rough and disjointed compared to the things you'd find over the course of writing, editing, fixing, editing, getting feedback, editing, and then looking over and editing a book (Did I mention editing?).

Agents may love books, and may love YOUR book, but they often have very busy lives that require they spend time on existing clients and relationships with their peers and editors.

You would be doing yourself a disservice by sending them anything you have now unless it is a Non Fiction proposal.

What you want is a critique partner who is willing to look over unfinished drafts and who will trade chapters with you.

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Quill
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Re: 100 page taster/work in development

Post by Quill » March 11th, 2013, 5:22 pm

silverback wrote:Hi, would it be a complete waste of time to forward a 100 page taster of an unfinished novel to an agent?
Yes. And more than a complete waste. Potentially damaging. You could turn off an agent you are interested in, for good.
I have two objectives for wanting to do so - the hope of interesting an agent in the finished work,
There is a near zero chance of this happening, because it's not how it's done in the industry. The industry trades in finished work so don't attempt to enter with a partial.
and, bottom line, to get feedback in lieu of that interest.
You'll be darned lucky to get feedback with a finished work, let alone a partial. Feedback is not an agent's job (unless they represent you). An agent's job is sale of your work to publishers.
If it's pie in the sky, then could somebody suggest where I might get feedback from a professional able to comment on my story/style and chances.
Hire a professional manuscript editor. You may be able to hire or befriend an agent at a convention. Not sure a short pitch session would suffice. You would need to get lucky there. Best is to craft your novel and query letter and select your agents carefully to send it to. Good luck!

silverback
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Re: 100 page taster/work in development

Post by silverback » March 11th, 2013, 7:43 pm

thanks so much guys for taking the time to pen replies, you've each been very, very helpful! DS

Lew
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Re: 100 page taster/work in development

Post by Lew » August 10th, 2016, 4:09 pm

Select beta readers with some professional credentials, either authors themselves or English/Lit teachers. Also friends who really like to read, but explain that you want criticism (good) not praise (boost to your ego, not much else) I had about 30 go through mine, including about 10 I don't know. One of them is a Professor at U of London and expert in Bactrian language and culture, who was very helpful in getting my 1st century group through what is now Afghanistan and quite different from now. He read it in its entirety, kept him awake on a London-to-Sydney flight, and I can cite him in my query as proof of historical accuracy.

When you have edited it till you are sick of it, then hire a professional editor, but buyer beware:
1. Get another author's recommendation
2. Get a partial edit first, as a full edit can be expensive. Mine did first 40 pages plus chapter synopses for $150, which let both of us know what we were dealing with, in terms of the quality of both her work and mine. This was deducted from the full edit which I later purchased, and she has also provided me ongoing prepublication support for query letters, synopses etc., all included in her price.

Don't even think of going to an agent without your work being squeaky clean and as ready for publication as you can get it. Most are not going to take the full manuscript (or a partially completed WIP). My first 25 agents queried wanted query letter, and 5-50 pages of text. Some wanted a synopsis as well, some chapter synopses, and in one case, my biography. So all of that should be done and in hand before you start. If that interests them, they will ask for the full manuscript (one did, for mine), and I am waiting her decision.

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