Hopefully everyone’s had a wonderful and productive summer.
Mine wasn’t overly productive, as far as writing goes, but with work and kids out of school for the summer, I planned ahead. Or rather, I told myself to prepare for limited computer time. I’ve been working on the Agent Shop schedule though, and hope you all remember to check back and see who we’ll be having as our guest agents for the rest of the year.
Today I wanted to mention a topic that comes up often in discussion with agents and editors alike.
Jumping the gun!
Hitting that send button too soon.
I’m sure we’ve all been there.
It’s exciting – and scary – and that dream agent you’ve been keeping your eye on just opened back up for queries – and her tweets say she looking for just what you’ve written – and – and – and…
Yep, you got it. All that time spent writing, and the opportunity is there. You’ve poured yourself, your time, your heart, blood and tears into the manuscript. How can you let this opp go by??? You talk yourself right into it.
I’m here to tell you – STOP YOURSELF!
A rejection is hard enough to take, but one that tells you you’ve got a great idea but the writing just isn’t there…brutal. I’ve heard agents and editors both say they see this A LOT and many times, it’s because the author didn’t give themselves the time or the edits needed. Unless your work has been through the following AT LEAST, and probably much more, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
- First round edit
- Crit partners
- A month where you don’t even LOOK at it
- Read it out loud
- Second round edit
- Contests are great at this stage too!
- Beta readers 2 or more
- VICIOUS edit (be brutal on yourself. If the sent makes you go ‘hmmm’ get rid of it or fix it.)
- A good dose of ‘this is crap, it’s great, it’s crap, it’s great’ limbo. (Okay, maybe that part was just me. But I find chocolate helps.)
- Final edit (and I highly suggest a final beta read)
- Make it shine