Rule #3: Patience
Don’t rush to query agents.
Twice now I have rushed to push my query letter out to agents, eager to find one and get my writing career rolling. I made a fatal error both times – the same error. I rushed. I sent the query out without making sure that the manuscript was as close to publishing perfection as I could possible make it. I was too eager to be a “published” writer.
Before you send out those query letters, ask yourself, “Is the manuscript ready?”
Would you throw a cover on it without making any revisions? Do you feel you should look it over once more? Do you feel a nervous hesitation?
An agent will not want to spend months working with you and/or an editor to fix and polish your manuscript. They don’t have the time. Give yourself the time to polish and revise until you are confident that what you are querying is the best manuscript you could write.
Find a beta reader. They are scattered around the web in forums and websites dedicated to reading and writing. Check Goodreads and Agent Query Connect. Both have sections where unpublished manuscripts can be traded between authors looking for a reader.
If you don’t have the time or energy to read someone else’s unpublished manuscript, or you want a more professional opinion, there are freelance editors and editing services available. They’ll cost you. Freelance editors exist, but they are a bit harder to find, and may or may not be as “professional” as they claim. Check with other authors on the previously mentioned sites to find them.
Publishing is a cutthroat, competitive, and biased business. Hundreds of other writers are sending their query letters out, too, and if you rush yours thinking that unless you start this very moment you’ll never get published, you’ll cheat yourself. Wait. Polish your manuscript. Polish that query letter.
Don’t send a half-butt manuscript. Wait until it’s ready.