Um. Oh. Letter to the agent

Dear Agent to Whom I Promised That Manuscript,

I didn't exactly lie when I sent you those 3 chapters and synopsis. I said I had a complete manuscript and that was not a lie. But I'd kinda left off part of the truth. What I didn't tell you was that the end of the story -- okay, much of the plot -- was an unholy mess. We're talking Eugenics and Victorian breeding programs and it was It was icky. I had 80K words but I'd say maybe 40K of them ranged from questionable to dreck.

Why didn't I follow standard operating procedure? I know what to do. Even fledgling writers know how it's supposed to work. So? Why didn't I wait until I had a polished finished manuscript to send?

In part because I was pretending I'm a professional.

I blame my "business plan" (See? That's a majorly professional sounding word right there.) My BP is to get back into the NYC world. That means that every now and then, I make the effort. I don't actually believe that it'll happen--I do it just to feel like I'm keeping to a schedule that is otherwise not in my control**. I've gotten used to producing 3 chapters, a synopsis and then, after I send out the little bundle, I check it off my to-do list and forget all about it. I go back to writing what I know will sell to the non-NYC world.

So when you sent back the "sure! Let's see the rest" note, I was mildly surprised. And then when you sent the "hey, I'm really interested, where is that ms?" note, I was petrified.

I can work fast -- I usually do. But that note about your interest. Man, it scared me. External pressure? Really? I vaguely recall that, but whoa.

Okay. Now it's about a month later and I have the finished manuscript (again) Do I send this letter to you? Are you still interested? Am I a loser for not being entirely honest up front? When I see you at RWA do I confess my sins?

So what do you think, rest of the world and maybe you, too, agent. Is it standard for everyone to allow a month or two to lapse between request and submission? I'd really, really hate that if I was an agent or editor. Sure, you guys always make writers wait, but that's the way of the world. There are a gazillion of us and a few of you.

** out of control part is what happens once I'm done with my bit:

write a best-selling novel.
write novel
Best selling? Sez you. Try selling--Not, responds agent, editor, booksellers, novel-reading public


  1. SEND! Send it, woman! The agent wanted it bad enough that she SENT YOU A REMINDER.

    Send it now or I will beat you upside the head.


    Only virtually.

  2. I don't think a month is long enough for an agent to give up on you. :-) So I'd send the ms now, maybe with a note to apologise for the delay and a mention that you realised you needed to do some edits before you sent it.

    I recently took three months to do some revisions for an agent, and although she did send me a "hey, where are they?" email it totally didn't put her off or make her forget who I was.

    Good luck!

  3. Kate, what are you waiting for? This might be the MS which will tell everybody, what many of us already know. You are an excellent author. If nothing else motivates you, please remember, Mike’s lower left molar that seems to be falling apart. That would do.

  4. I think I love you guys. That is all.


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