Would you wait to finish the manuscript first?

In almost every blog post I have read, conversations I have had, and email exchange with authors, both published and aspiring, there has been one consistent theme: they have all recommended that one should finish the manuscript first before sending it to the publishers (or agents, as the case may be).

While this seems like a logical approach, my question is as follows: at least in India, most publishers expect you to send a book proposal which includes at a minimum a synopsis, sample chapters and author bio. Then, there is a long wait anywhere between two to six months before the publishers respond to you – informing whether your book proposal has been  shortlisted or not. Then you have to send the full manuscript, which will get reviewed again and then finally you will be informed of the decision.

While what I have written above may already be known to most of you, my question is as follows: Why wait to send the sample chapters till the entire manuscript is ready? Why cannot one send the sample chapters as soon as they are completed, and finish the rest of the book while the book proposal is being evaluated?

I would like to know the pro’s and con’s of doing so- I am thinking of trying this approach for my next book.

Focus, discipline and…

Another day, another rejection from a publisher. But that’s not what I am going to write about.

A couple of days ago, I was at an alumni meet where I met an alumnus of a much refined vintage. It turns out that he was trying to get his first book published as well – a collection of short stories. He proudly informed me that he had received ten rejections. But more importantly, he suggested something that really was an ‘aha’ moment. His advise was : pick up a hobby – preferably a sport or running. That will get the creative juices flowing. And equally importantly, he mentioned that one needs to set a time for writing, and just write during that time. It need not be related to your book, though that would be preferred!  The idea was that one needs to become more disciplined. His thoughts were echoed by another alum who has published two books so far. It was good to meet others who had traversed the same journey that I have just started.

So here I am, writing this post early in the morning. For me, the 4 AM – 6 AM time works best. I had always thought that writing was an escape of sorts from the daily grind. But in order to focus on writing, taking up a sport or running or meditation is something I am going to try out. Let us see what its impact is.