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>>>>- The "Idiot's Guide to getting Published" on the other hand, advises to finish your manuscript first, before even sending out a query letter, ie, have your first draft complete, before you submit any text.
>>>>The Idiot's Guide says the first piece of advice applies to non-fiction books, but not to fiction. Any experience to show who's mostly correct?

Zambon: I won't presume to say which is correct, but I'll tell you from my own experience that I was able to sell a nonfiction book from only a synopsis and some sample chapters (unfinished ones even).

As for the SF book I'm writing, I didn't even consider shopping it around until the book was finished because I knew it was likely that I would be doing a lot of editing/rewriting. In my case it was mostly because I wasn't happy with the quality of the writing in the early chapters (which I think improved dramatically as the book progressed). But I can see how the plot might evolve to the point where you'd need to rewrite parts of the early chapters to allow for the later changes.

Still, if you are happy with the writing quality, and you don't think it matters if you might rewrite those chapters after submitting them, then go for it. Personally, I don't think I would have wanted to do that without a lot of polishing, even if I were happy with the overall quality of the writing. I ended up doing many iterations of polish to the early chapters, and as a result they are much better now than they were in the early stages of the book. (I'm still improving them, but you should have seen the first rough drafts!)

Ultimately, I think it all depends on how confident you are with the quality of the writing. If you think it's so good already that no one could refuse it, send it off. If you think it still needs a lot of work, maybe not....

Either way, good luck!

Mark.
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