An Agent Requested My Manuscript. Now What?

Hey there, writers and muse daters. 

One of the questions that writers often ask me, especially at writers conferences or after they’ve done a pitch slam, is

 “I’ve gotten a request for a manuscript but I’m not quite sure that my manuscript is a hundred percent ready either because it needs a content edit or because it needs a copy edit. What should I do?”

This is a great question and here is my response.

When an agent requests your manuscript at a conference, keep in mind what’s happening from the agent’s point of view.

This agent is meeting with probably up to a hundred writers, some of whom he or she has requested pages, and they’re not going to remember every person they have talked with. At the end of their whirlwind day, they’ll maybe remember a couple of key moments.

Which is to say that if they’ve requested pages, and you don’t get them to that agent until three months later or even a year later, they’re not going to notice.

First of all, we as writers hold ourselves accountable, right? We’re like, “Oh my gosh, the agent asked for those pages and what am I going to do? I don’t have the pages ready and they’re expecting them.” We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

Stop, pause, and take a deep breath. The agent doesn’t remember who you are.

If they do then that’s great for you. I hope they reach out and ask for your manuscript. But most often, they’ve talked to a lot of people they just don’t remember.

It’s more important that you have a quality product. A product that you can stand behind. A product that’s going to make that agent jump up and down. A product that’s ready to go, ready to send to the publishing house.

That is the most paramount element of this experience, and that the polished manuscript gets to them right away.

If you’re debating between “send now and it’s not quite ready” or “send later when it looks much better,” I always recommend to go with “send later when it looks much better.” Why? Because the chances that the agent is going to reject any given manuscript are always really high.

The goal is to give that agent fewer reasons to reject a manuscript. 

I’m really glad to be working on the revisions of so many of those manuscripts with members in the Writing Gym. I look forward to our sessions together if you’re looking to pitch to agents and you want to make sure that you have a high quality product. 

I’d really happy to talk to you about what that looks like for you. You can put yourself right into my calendar. We can talk about where you are ready to go and how you can get there.

Until next time, happy writing.

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