Are you that somebody?

Note: New Twenty-Somewhere episode on Tuesday. Between my repetitive stress injury, my poopy puppy, and ABNA, it just didn’t happen today.

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Today’s post is brought to you by Aaliyah, and literary agent Nathan Bransford, who asked (and answered): “Can you query if you are an unpublished novelist and your manuscript isn’t finished yet?”

The “correct” answer is of course, no. But I can’t help wondering if the answer for somebody who is very confident, very talented, and very focused, is actually yes.

Because in theory, That Somebody could submit a good query with just an idea. And if a partial were requested from the query, That Somebody could then write the first 30 pages and submit. And if a full were requested from the partial, That Somebody could then write the rest of the manuscript and submit.

It would be rough as heck, but doable.

Then regardless of what happens, That Somebody hasn’t wasted time on an idea and/or manuscript that nobody’s interested in, because That Somebody didn’t write it until an agent was interested. And even if things don’t work out with that agent, it’s likely that another agent will be interested too, so That Somebody can keep querying (and revising in the meantime) until That Somebody gets a contract.

Of all the wannabe writers out there, probably only one in a million could do this successfully, but hey, think of all the time That Somebody could save!

Are you That Somebody?


  1. phhhst says:

    Nothing like confidence…

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  2. Les says:

    I’m not that somebody, and I wouldn’t risk it to be honest… gonna get enough rejection letters.. why make it worse? lol. Plus I still don’t have an idea for anything, and THAT… that’s bad.

    • Les’s recent blog post: Who said that?

  3. Hey, sorry about your wrist. :-( braces are no fun!

    and who knows, you could be that somebody. I mean, if people can write novels on cell phones, agents should be open-minded enough to take a good look at fresh young talent.

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  4. Kristan says:

    I’ve read some of your stuff, dear, and I know you have ideas!

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, but I don’t think that person is me. (Although I’m semi-hedging those bets in the Amazon contest, I suppose…)

  5. Les says:

    Actually I finally came up with a full storyline/plot this afternoon. much easier to write when you know where you’re going with it..

    • Les’s recent blog post: Who said that?

  6. Kristan says:

    Agreed! I just finished an outline today, so I’m feeling the same!

  7. Todd Newton says:

    Judging by the time it takes me to finish writing an entire book, I’d have to agree wholeheartedly with Nathan. My understanding is that when Agents/Editors request things, they want it “now” and not “X months/years from now.” As much as the logic works, the time involved in writing/editing is just not quantified so easily, I guess. Not a bad idea, though.

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  8. Kristan says:

    Oh I agree I couldn’t do it, I’m just thinking there’s maybe someone out there who could?

    (Also, would it really kill an agent to wait a little while? I mean, they process so many queries/partials/manuscripts they don’t remember what they’ve requested anyway, so what’s 1 month delay vs. 1 week?)

    (Also, I could be completely wrong, but I like to conjecture! :P)

  9. Todd Newton says:

    From what I’ve heard, and I admit that I’m reaching here, the reason they want everything “now” is precisely because they get so many queries and whatnot. If the project isn’t ready, they basically feel like their time spent on it is not worth it because there are other options to pursue.

    In a perfect world, I would totally agree with you. I’m just saying there’s no way I could do it myself.

    • Todd Newton’s recent blog post: The Ninth Avatar – Evolution of a Cover

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