First 3 chapters or 50 pages?

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Oct 17, 2018
If an agent asks for ‘the first 3 chapters or 50 pages’, but doesn’t specify whether to send the higher or lower page count, which would you send?

My first 3 chapters take the story up to page 36. The first 51.5 pages takes the story to a scene break during chapter 5.
I'd just send the first three chapters. If she doesn't ask to read more, then she's not your agent. Agents want to see capable writing and a strong hook right away. If those aren't present in your first three chapters, they won't ask for a full. If only one of those things is present and the idea presented in the query is strong, they might ask for a full anyway. I think that's the lesson from popupsubmissions. If you haven't got a hook right off the bat, they aren't going to read further anyway. I wouldn't worry about sending exactly fifty pages. And if I felt like those twenty other pages are so good they need to be submitted, I'd have to ask myself if I was starting the story in the right place.
@Malaika makes excellent points. I'd probably just send the 3 chapters, myself, on the principle of less is more at this stage. Unless the chapters were very short.

But, to clarify a possible reason for sending more if the chapters are short. That they see you can sustain the standard over more of a rising arc.
It actually turned out to be 50.5 pages when I looked again. Weirdly, on my Mac it was 49, but longer in Windows. They specified ‘first three chapters or (roughly) 50 pages’ and at least 1.5 spaced (mine is double) so I think it should be fine.
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