if you check out the Pitmad or Pitchwars sites and, most importantly, Janet’s Reid’s bog (Queryshark) , you’ll get tons of great advice on querying.
Otherwise, about your questions
- If you have a first draft on the platform, you can leave it on. I would, in any case, never put a final draft on WP in full. Any modern agent/publisher should not have a problem with that. My publisher (Literary Wanderlust) even allowed me to keep the draft on, they see Wattpad mainly as a networking and training site, and believe it is a good thing. Some agents or publishers are tetchier, but the odd agent who will reject you because of having the draft out on WP imho is not worth your custom. WP has quite a presence, and to look down on it is just snobbery. So, don’t bother with those. Note this is different for short stories. Once they are published, they are published. I’d only use WP for novels or novellas.
- Of course you can query and I’m doing that all the time. Nobody has so far had any issues with my WP presence. I mention my Watties, am totally upfront about it. No beef.
As to tips, there is one main piece of advice - your novel needs to be READY for querying. You cannot send in a first draft. Nor a second. Or a third. These days, publishers and agents expect material that is on a level of 9.5 out of a scale of ten. They have neither the time nor the money to edit your story to a quality required for publishing.
Changes will happen, but these will be copy edits and some adjustments to meet the requirements of specific publishers. Your novel has to be right up there.
What does that mean? I woul suggest to read Jeff Gerke’s “The first fifty pages”. That will give you a VERY good idea of what is expected out there.
The book isn’t long, but it is extremely helpful.
I queried two novels, got one contract and with the second one got very close. Very close still is a failed, but at least they gave me valid feedback. It can work. There’s hope. There ARE people getting published, but you absolutely must be right up there. Otherwise, you just fall into the great mass of authors querying despite not having a proper manuscript.
Oh, and I would consider building up a backlist before going out there. It is very hard to get traction with only one novel. If publishing one novel with a publishing house is your dream, okay, but to get real success it is better to have more than one.
My debut is on 1 July and so far I have written 7 novels I believe I can get up to expectations… Daunting, eh?
Hope that helps, you can always ping me for more feedback