I should have thought a bit more about the possible consequences. I also should have taken a closer look at the excerpt. When I sat down with him to discuss the manuscript he pointed out a couple of amateurish formatting mistakes that made me blush. But he was also gracious with his praise and asked to see the full manuscript. Of course I was floating a few feet off the ground after the interview, but then near panic when I got home.
You see I hadn't even looked at this manuscript for several years and knew it would need some work before I could send it. This is not a situation I recommend! I did a bit of a re-write and sent it to a friend to critique, letting her know I was in a bit of a rush. She was honest and made some excellent suggestions that required a fair bit of re-writing. I spent the next few and rather long days doing so. I sent it back to her and she replied again with another suggestion that required more re-writing but again, her assessment was good and I knew it would be worth the effort to follow through.
So, cringing at the obvious "I'm new at this" flag, I emailed the agent and asked him to be patient with me.
This is what not to do when submitting your work. I should have taken more time with the excerpt. I should have made sure the full manuscript was ready to send. I should have had a few people critique and edit it before taking the plunge. But if I had done all of that, the opportunity would have slipped away and I would not have been in conversation with one of the top agents in the CBA.
So, what did I learn? Sometimes you just have to take the plunge. Maybe you aren't as ready as you could be. But maybe there are things God wants to teach you in that place. Maybe, as you take the risk and walk through that door, you will learn more about yourself and your God than if you had been completely prepared. Sometimes He wants us a little off balance so we can learn that He's the one holding us up.
The scripture tells us that Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it" (Mark 10:15). A little child steps into the world with wide eyes and little knowledge. She hasn't had years to prepare and build her confidence. She'll fall a lot before she gets there, but God's hand is always there to lift her up.
So don't be afraid. Go ahead, take the plunge.