Thursday, August 12, 2010

Getting Ahead (of yourself).

As aspiring writers, a lot of us tend to make mistakes when it comes to submissions. We don't follow guidelines, we make spelling errors in our queries, or we submit before we're really ready. I'm not saying all of us do these things, you may never make one mistake. But a lot of new writers jump the gun be it with agents, editors, or even contest entries.

You're eager. You know you need to revise more. But it's written all the way to the end. Your BFF says it's perfect. Your mom says you're the next J.K Rowling. Your palms sweat. You're finger is on the button ready to click "send".

Don't do it!

Because chances are, it's not ready. You're not ready. And you don't want to make an a$$ out of yourself by submitting something that isn't ready. If you win the contest, or if the agent requests pages, then what? You send something half-assed and then ask to revise and resubmit. You've wasted said agent/editor's time and you are EXTREMELY lucky if she/he doesn't tell you to go to someplace not nice.

Trust me. Don't do it.

Breathe. Revise. Rewrite. Repeat.

You'll know when it's ready.


  1. This is so true. I was asked to send pages from a contest, but luckily, the agent said she'd wait when I said I'd decided to revise it again first. I just wish the day would come when I KNOW I'm finished with revisions.

  2. Great post Lacey. What's funny about this info is that you can say it til you're blue in the face, but the only way anyone really learns it is by submitting too soon. Even when you truly believe you've done the work and waited long enough, it will probably still be too early that first time. All you can do is hope for the best!

    Kristi - I don't think that day comes until your book is out on store shelves!

  3. So true, Valerie! My short story is in print and I STILL want to change it.

  4. Good advice! I tend to be a little impulsive myself and I really have to tame that. Luckily I have an agent to be my filter. But he keeps telling me "take your time." So I LISTEN!! Or try to. He he he.

  5. I actually disagree with you - though I can definitely respect your point. But on every blog I read, from agents to publishers to published authors, I hear the same tune, "Don't be afraid to make mistakes. You'll make them anyway - just try to avoid them as much as possible."
    I think most aspiring authors - especially us savvy blogging ones :D - know that a first draft is not a completed novel. I also know that nothing is ever perfect.
    Sometimes you have to click 'send.' Sometimes you have to jump. If you're too busy worrying about not wasting an agent/editor's time then you'll never get published. Yeah, make something as nice as you can, but it's not the end of the world to make mistakes. How else will we learn?
    That said, it's always better not to send anything hastily. Thinking it out first is a good idea, you're definitely right about that.

  6. Interesting thoughts. I think you're right and that some writers, regardless of being a newbie at the game or a veteran, should always give one last polish on their work before sending it into the publisher or agent.

    I often times am ready to submit, but then I have my doubts and go through it again and again. Then, one last more time, just to be sure.

    Write on and always be sure that you're ready by checking and double-checking your work!

  7. Great advice! I can get so eager sometimes, and usually, a healthy does of "Breath. Revise. Rewrite. Repeat." is in order!

  8. I'm not saying never submit, I'm just saying don't jump the gun and turn in something you know needs revised. And to be sure you've followed the proper guidelines for said agent before submitting.

    I don't think we're ever 100% satisfied with our own work. We can always find ways to change it, even after it's been published.


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