I sent a query to a very good NY agent. I said that the MS is complete and revised. He replied and asked to see the whole MS. Although the MS is polished, I think that it can still be greatly improved. What should I do? Should I send him the MS right now or wait for a couple of weeks until a friend revises it and improves it? I want to send it in the best possible condition and at the same time I don't want to send it so late that he may lose his interest.
You think the manuscript can be greatly improved, but you won't know for sure until your friend finishes improving (or ruining) it? What a dilemma. What a fix you're in. And it's not your fault! How could you have predicted an agent would actually request something you offered? You reasonably believed that actual manuscript requests were the literary equivalent of UFO sightings, that any agent who would request your manuscript had to be a scam artist.
Which of the following scenarios is more likely:
The agent is sitting in his office twiddling his thumbs and thinking, Where the hell is that manuscript I requested? She better not have sent it to someone else. That manuscript was going to put me on the map. My big break. Hell, Dan Brown's agent retired to Tahiti off fifteen percent of Code's take . . . Maybe it's lost in the mail. I should phone her, see if she sent it. No, no, that would look too anxious. Don't want to give the impression I need her. Maybe an email? No! It'll come. Just work on something else, think happy thoughts, maybe rearrange the office furniture. Oh, God, where is it?!!!
Or, you send the manuscript the day you get the request and the agent gets it and thinks, Already?!! Does this woman have a life? Does she realize I've got six other fulls on my desk to read ahead of hers? Does she think I'm so desperate for her manuscript I couldn't make a move until I had it in my hand? Does she think I'm that desperate for clients? Screw that! I'm rejecting this one without even reading the first paragraph!
It's a fine line between these two scenarios. You have a two-day window during which your manuscript must arrive.