Question of the week: Is it better to send out something you're not quite happy with because maybe you're too close to it, etc, or to just let it go and wait until you've got something you think is really good?
I know how easy it is to want to dive into the query pool. I do. I know that you want to GET. YOUR. WORK. OUT. THERE, and start garnering rave reviews and frothing agents who are dying to sign you.
Don't do it until you are 120% sure that your manuscript is ready for the big time. Getting published is ridiculously hard - seriously - it's about as hard a professional goal as you can set for yourself, and to go out with anything less than the best version of yourself and your work just isn't advisable, in my opinion. You not only waste the time of agents, you also run the risk of having them remember you - and quickly cast you off - should you requery them in the future. (I know, I know, it's not likely that they'll remember you, but you never know.) Additionally, let's say that by some chance, an agent says, "Sure, I'll take this on," even though you suspect that it's not your best effort. Then what? Your agent shops it around and publishers say no. Guess what? You're back at square one, and even though you may now have an agent, he or she might have lost faith or enthusiasm for you because your work ceased to sell. OR, let's take this one step further, let's say that a publisher DOES buy your work...philosophically, do you really want an only semi-decent example of your talent out there? Enough people won't like your best effort, don't give them a chance to pan your half-best.
My gut feeling is that if you know that your work isn't quite ready for prime time, then it isn't. It's hard to swallow when you so desperately want to move ahead in the process, but try to reign it in, and instead, focus on creating the best possible representation of your skills.
But that's just me...anyone else out there agree or not?