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Partial versus Full

Posted: June 9th, 2010, 5:26 pm
by superduperkool
Is there a difference if a literary agent requests a full ms instead of a partial right off the bat? Maybe their more interested? I was just curious.

Re: Partial versus Full

Posted: June 9th, 2010, 6:44 pm
by Bryan Russell/Ink
Possibly they're more enthused, yes, but sometimes it's just agent preference. Some simply ask for fulls instead of partials. So a little from column A and a little from column B...

Re: Partial versus Full

Posted: June 9th, 2010, 8:21 pm
by FK7
A good way to know is to sign up on QueryTracker and look on the query statistics and comments section. Some agents exclusively request full manuscripts, but it doesn't imply they will read it all. These agents often stop mid-way (sometimes after page 25, even if they requested the full) if they don't like them. Others seem to request full when they are more enthused, and partials when they are uncertain. I would assume these agents read the entire full.

A few days ago, I also read a Tweet from a YA editor (I think it was which said a lot of editors or agents keep reading even if they're half interested, in case things change along the way. It appears the thought of possibly missing on something great is very scary to agents and editors.

Hope this helps!

Re: Partial versus Full

Posted: June 10th, 2010, 9:40 am
by wildheart
I have no way of really knowing this but I thought I'd give my two cents worth anyway. I think a lot of it depends on the agent. Like others said some agents request fulls from all the authors, others always ask for partials first regardless. And still for others it can totally depend on how interested they are in your project. But...sometimes I think it is the latter thing that decides whether they ask for a partial or full the most. I certainly know I would freak out if an agent promptly asked for a full instead of a partial.

Re: Partial versus Full

Posted: June 15th, 2010, 2:47 am
by rainbowsheeps
This is me just kind of idly guessing, but...

There are agents who request both partials and fulls from people. I'm not sure you should jump to the conclusion the agent is less interested in your work if they simply requested a partial, though. Again, I'm just guessing here, but I think word count or genre might play a role in their decision to request a partial or full. For instance, requesting a manuscript that's 60k words long might be "doable" for an agent, but requesting a manuscript that's 100k words might be overkill. They might request fulls for shorter works, to skip the middle stage, but take it a little slower with longer works so they're not requesting more than they could possibly reject with any meaningful comments.

I'd say the same could be due to genre preference. An agent that's heavily interested in urban fantasy in general, for instance, might request fulls for the promising projects in that genre, but if they don't represent another genre, say literary fiction, or science fiction, they might request a partial just to see if it's in their interest.

I almost jumped to the conclusion that a requested partial meant slightly less interest when I discovered the agent also requests fulls from writers. But I realized there are other possibilities aside from just "the fulls are better." Of course, I don't know, and this just speculation. I wouldn't go crazy over it, though.

Re: Partial versus Full

Posted: June 16th, 2010, 3:26 pm
by brando
Hi, a general quetion I am trying to find an answer to that's impossible to get from google. If a writer once had an agent, but for wahtever reasons no is no longer repped by that agent, agent is not doing fiction anymore, didn't sell their book etc, and now writer has a new book and is querying new agents, should he or she tell that agent that they were once repped by another, esp if it's someone fairly well known? I mean if the relationship was good and ended amicably etc. I have only done this just now, that is, let a perspective agent know that I was repped previously. Do you have any thoughts on this? Much appreciated in advance. BL