Dear Miss Snark,
I just fulfilled my contract for a two-book deal and am now working on a new novel. This new book is very different from the other two books I sold, so I was just plugging away writing (thinking I needed a complete manuscript to sell) when the thought occurred that I might be going about it backwards. Am I supposed to write a proposal package of a synopsis and first three chapters and send it to my agent? If so, what length synopsis should I shoot for? I'm about 70,000 words into the book; should I mention that?
I know I could ask my agent, but your advice would be much appreciated and would go a long way toward me not seeming less informed than I likely already do.
Ask your agent. It's ok to look uninformed. Your job is to write well. Our job is to keep you informed. So far, you're doing your job.
I prefer to get whole manuscripts if it's not a book on a second of two deal, or it's outside the normal genre. That's cause I like to read things before I try to sell them. That's just me. There's no hard and fast rule about this.
It's ok to ask. You won't even be in the top 100 annoying phone calls on this one.