Saturday, 2 March 2013

Submitting the Second Novel

Hey folks. If you've been following my drafting and editing journey with the latest MS, firstly: thank you for sticking with me while I dragged my ass through that. Secondly, I've hit a point in the process which is actually a first for me.

This is not my first MS. It's actually my third complete MS. The second (actually the first one I wrote, but that's another story) landed me my amazing agent. But this new MS is the first MS I'm submitting to my agent, as my agent. 

I think there are a few things that go through your head as you're querying agents - things that you look forward to never having to do again once you sign with one. Querying, of course (provided everything goes well, and providing you don't sign with an agent who's only representing the novel you submitted and not subsequent work.) Facing the prospect that you might never get a professional opinion on your MS is another thing (because if your query sucks, is an agent even going to read your pages? Yes, this was something I gave a lot of thought to while querying.) Knowing that your agent will at the very least read your MS and give you feedback (because your agent doesn't have to represent every MS you write, if they hate it or don't think they can sell it, etc.) is reassuring.

In my case, having discussed my basic premise for this MS with Molly before I started writing it, I'd had the story idea pre-vetted, in a way, so I had that slight security of knowing I wasn't going to meet with 'this story is a no-go/has been done to death/sucks harder than a Dyson'. But something I hadn't given any thought to before completing it was: what am I actually supposed to send? The MS, of course, but what else? A query-style blurb? After all, it was months ago that I first discussed the basic idea with Molly. A synopsis? I know that these come in handy when developing the pitch for editors. What??

Basically, I was clueless.

I haven't seen any guidelines for this online, and I - in a vain effort to not look like a complete div - try to find answers online before I bug Molly with questions. (The bugging part is my perception, not at all based on Molly's response - she is in all things lovely, communicative and vastly brilliant.) But I couldn't find the answer. So I emailed Molly and asked. The answer (and I don't know whether this varies from agent to agent or is a rule across the board) was this: just the MS.

So that's what I sent.

And now I just hope she likes it!


  1. Good luck and congratulations! I suspect she'll love it.

    I really think this is something which depends on the individual agent and their work load at the time.

    I pre-vetted my story as well and my agent gave me the go ahead. Once I had the first draft done, I sent the polished first chapter and a blurb. Okay, I was bit paranoid that she might have forgotten. For now, that WIP is set aside but I plan on sending the whole thing and a synopsis when it's done.

    1. Hi Pat. Thank you - it's good to know how this happens between other authors and their agents!

      Because of my outlining process (I write detailed chapter outlines) if/when Molly asks for a synopsis, it's already practically done. Curious, though - do you subscribe to the philosophy that a synopsis is just a tool, so simply needs to 'do the job' rather than have any artistic tone/flair etc?

  2. Good to know. I've been wondering, what if agent isn't into the next MS you write? What if it's COMPLETELY different? Do you find another agent for that new project?

    Nice if I don't EVER have to write another query--but it's gotta be easier with a sounding board-the agent, who is looking after your best interests after all. Good luck with TRANSPARENCIES.

    1. Thanks, Karen!

      The question of an agent not liking your next MS is something I have given a lot of thought to, since I write SF & F (I know they're closely aligned, but not everybody likes both). I'm not 100% sure about this, but I think if you had a MS your agent simply didn't like, or it was a genre they didn't rep, you might reach an agreement whereby you either queried another agent who would be a better fit for JUST that MS, or you could self-pub. Again, I think the key thing would be talking to your agent and coming to an agreement on what happened next. It would also depend on the terms of your contract with the agent/agency.

  3. Another good piece of information to have in the back pocket! Thanks for sharing. And I wish you the best of luck with Transparencies! Congrats!

    1. Thanks very much, and thank you for stopping by :)


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