Q. I have almost 5 chapters done of a romance novel. Is it too soon for me to try to find an agent? If not, can you please advise me as to how to proceed in doing so? Thank you for your time and your help.
A. Whenever you writing a novel or memoir, the first rule is to complete it before contacting agents. If you query with only five chapters done and then an agent requests the full manuscript, what are you going to do? There are no good options, and you've essentially wasted your opportunity with that agent.
There are no super-secret tricks to revising. 1) Finish the story. 2) While it's still fresh, do a second draft - looking for small things. 3) Give it out to some peers to edit - people you trust ("beta readers") who can provide advice that is both honest and valuable - cause you need both. 4) Rewrite an overhaul of a third draft incorporating big suggestions that your peers threw out. 5) Do a fifth draft, looking for grammar or other small content mistakes.
Obviously, there is a lot more than goes into rewriting, but this is just a skeleton to help. Rewriting and the whole publishing process in general is a step-by-step process. But once you climb all those steps, you get this:
Want more on this subject?
- Like romance writing? Check out my interviews with agent Scott Eagan, editor Leah Hultenschmidt, and agent Laura Bradford.
- Confused about formatting? Check out Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript.
- Read about What Agents Hate: Chapter 1 Pet Peeves.
- Want the most complete database of agents and what genres they're looking for? Buy the 2011 Guide to Literary Agents today!
- Have a burning question about agents or publishing? E-mail it to me at email@example.com and I may answer it on this blog.