UPDATE 5/29/19: Still no.
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Michelle Miles says
Okay I LOL’d at this!!
Zoe Winters says
LMAO, Nathan! I bet you loved today’s post day. One word, time for a coffee break!
but, not all rules are universal. i would not have the two book contract that i do, if i hadn’t started querying before i was done with my novel.
Sharon Norwood says
But… but… my idea is the best one EVER!
Anna Lefler says
I respect a man who can blue-pencil his blog posts down to two letters.
(I think the period could be trimmed back a bit, but that’s more an issue of personal style, yes?)
Margaret Sue Turner Wright says
Can you Query if your a Celebrity’s daughter, and your Memoir is not finished?
Veronica Schultz says
That's hilarious. Or maybe sad that people ask this frequently.
Definitely either hilarious or sad.
Nathan, I have a question about this…I write literary fiction, have been in contact with 5 agents in the past 12 years (3 referred to me by published novelists–Bob Shacochis, Barry Hannah, and Christopher Castellini; 2 whom contacted me after seeing my short stories in literary journals). I have a collection of short stories–many which have been published–but no finished novel ms. Yet. (I am about 3/4 through it).
I was in touch with some of these agents…they read my story ms., wanted to see the novel 'when I was ready.' I fell out of the loop for a while, just writing…looks like the first draft of the novel will be done in the fall.
My question: do I re-contact these agents? And if so, how? Or do I just start fresh with the query process?
It seems by these posts alone, there were two exceptions to the given rule of no submission without completion. That said, what is the point of unthinking generalities?
Nathan Bransford says
There isn't any unthinking generality about it. You're always going to find exceptions in publishing, it doesn't mean the advice isn't sound.
Hilarious; made me actually "lol" instead of just typing it. 😀
P. Grier says
best blog ever.
For a first time writer it might be helpful to get some feedback on their ideas, *before* those ideas solidify in any specific shape or form.
I am thinking memoir, but the specific lens/point-of-view..etc may gain by previewing the publishing market, don't you think?
Is it at all possible to meaningfully "converse" with an agent with an idea that is only half boiled..?
Nathan Bransford says
The best way to do that is to attend a writer's conference and sign up for a pitch session. But just tossing out an idea is not what the query process is for, and if you query with something that's not ready you could hurt your chances later on.
Otherwise, you could always solicit feedback in discussion forums like the one on this site or over at Absolute Write.
Thanks!!! Appreciate the instantaneous response two days before Christmas.. Happy holidays!
But, Mr. Bransford… What if you're an unpublished novelist, and your novel IS finished? Can we query you then?
hello this is your indirect rejection towards the new novelists and their entire work which may be most attractive for them. wow, you are absolutely imperfect.
bimal from nepal
Matthew Hartmann says
Haha brilliant answer! Don't worry, I won't be sending out a query for my novel until it's finished.
Still curious, as is "John", why this only applies to fiction? It's a different answer for non-fiction?
Well there go my hopes and dreams.