I recently was chatting with an author-friend of mine at a local bookstore reading. At one point he shook his sample chapter at me and asked bluntly, “Amanda, how do I know this is ready to send to an agent?”
This isn’t the first time I’ve been asked this question, and honestly, there’s no definitive answer.
When is your project ready? How do you know?
The best advice I can give is to get other eyes on the material — your beta readers. People who can give you feedback that is both honest and helpful are your best resource to tell if you’re ready to send a query letter.
When you allow me to beta read for you, I will give you feedback and you can take what you want, then ditch the rest. Meaning, you don’t have to implement every suggestion I make.
What you’re aiming for with beta reads is no more major concerns. So let’s say you give the book to three beta readers and they come back with some major concerns, one says “It starts too slowly” the next says “This character is not likeable” and the last one says “[Plot point] doesn’t make sense so I’d remove or rewrite that.”
So you can rewrite and revise based on those concerns (and maybe correct minor things while you’re at it), and after you complete the next draft, give it to more (different) beta readers.
If this new group of readers comes back with no major concerns, then I’d say the book is ready, or at least very close.
If you need help with beta reading, I offer that service with a payment plan, so it’s good for your book and wallet.
I also offer beta reads of your first chapter only to ensure your story is off to a strong start! Contact me for more details if you’re needing beta reading help.