To put it bluntly, there is no definitive answer as to when your book will be ready to query.
The best advice I can give you is to get other eyes on the material; people who can give you feedback that is both honest and helpful prior to querying your story. I’m talking about beta readers!
Reach out to beta readers who promise to give you truthful feedback. Once they return their review, you can take what you want then ditch the rest. What you’re aiming for in their opinion is no more major concerns with your work – just minor adjustments.
So let’s say you give the book to beta readers and they come back with some major concerns such as “It starts too slow” or “This character is not likeable.” Through revisions, you can address these problems prior to sending queries!
After giving your work some loving rewrites, give it to more (different) beta readers. If, that time, they come back with no major concerns, then the book is ready, or at least very close.
Finding Your Beta Reader
When picking a beta reader, you must find someone you trust with your work, and ask them to be brutally honest in their review. You are absolutely free to get feedback from your family or spouse or friends….but remember that they are going to be overly kind regarding your work because they love you. Their natural reaction is to make you happy and congratulate you on finishing your novel. If you don’t get an unbiased, honest opinion you could easily submit sub-par work to an already overloaded agent.
You can find many beta readers on Fiverr – but buyer beware: you absolutely get what you pay for on Fiverr.
When I beta read I love to tell clients what works in their novel, but I’m also honest about what doesn’t work. You aren’t paying me to be nice – you pay me to help get your story published. I’m going to tell you in a nice way, but I’ve got to be honest and tell you.
If you need help with beta reading your manuscript feel free to reach out to me. (Seriously, this is what I love to do!)
Some submission requirements only request the first page or first chapter of your manuscript with your query letter, so I’d be happy to beta read just those portions (instead of the whole novel).
Let’s get your book ready to query!