First, an announcement: Get ready for next Tues. when the uber-awesomesauce author Carrie Harris will be interviewed here at Sisters in Scribe. Carrie is the David Hasselhoff-loving, zombie-crazy author of Bad Taste in Boys, and I've already pre-ordered my copy. Have you?
Now, unless you live under a rock, in a cave, or in space, you've heard of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I'm not participating because I finished writing my new novel late last night (woo hoo) and will use November for revisions. I'm a little exhausted and will make this short and sweet. If you are NaNo'ing this month, good for you! It's very empowering to pound out a story day after day until you finish. In fact, it's why I've done my own personal NaNo in Oct. the last two years. If you write some every day and make progress in your story by the end of NaNoWriMo, you're way ahead of the game. But if you should happen to beat the odds and complete your story by Nov. 30th, here are a few NaNo NoNo's:
1) Dec. 1st is NOT the day to query. Not even if you think you just wrote the best novel of all time. Yes, it may have the potential to be the best novel of all time, but on Nov. 30th. it's just not there. Really.
2) Jan. 1st is NOT the day to query. First of all, agents might be hungover or in the process of drinking heavily (because of the holiday, not because I think agents are drunks). Also, as much as you think it's ready, your manuscript probably still sucks. And if it doesn't totally suck, it's likely to be in a phase of 'mild suckage.' Have you run the entire thing by trusted readers or a critique group? Have you made changes accordingly? If not, do that instead of querying.
If you can avoid those two major pitfalls, you're doing great. Fact: The publishing business is slow.
It's easy to grow impatient and want your work out there as soon as possible. I completely understand that as patience is not one of my own virtues. But you want the work that's out there to be the best it can possibly be. You want it to shine so bright that it looks like a diamond amidst a sea of cubic zirconia. Bottom line: If it's not polished to the point that you can see your reflection in it, don't send it.
What about you? Are you NaNo'ing? If you NaNo'ed before, how did it go?