Thursday, September 16, 2010

3 things to ask yourself before submitting your manuscripts

The subject of submitting manuscripts to publishers/literary agents has come up on the comments section on here pretty often. Which is awesome. I love seeing so many motivated writers!

I can't read everybody's work. I really, really wish I could because I love chatting with you guys about your projects and dreams. (If I didn't, I wouldn't run this blog.)

Since I can't edit for everybody, I thought I'd throw out some general things I might say to any of you who are thinking the time has come for you to throw your baby to the wolves:

1. Have you thoroughly edited your manuscript? If you're not sure, or you're just looking for ways to know, check out my three-part series "I Love Editing."

2. Have you researched the querying process? We've got a three-part series on that as well. The first post is "What I Didn't Know - and What You Should - Before Querying Agents" I then talked about query letters and book proposals.

3. Can you handle criticism? Because even an agent or editor who adores your story and voice is going to have things they don't like. So if you still get bent out of shape about criticism from your friends, you might not be ready yet to submit. And there's nothing wrong with that. We're all ready at different stages of life. On the other hand, there's a learning curve for managing criticism, and the way to get used to it is to receive more of it. So if you're prepared for that, by all means, send out those query letters.

Seasoned writers, is there anything you would add to this list?

And those just embarking on the submission process, what kinds of questions do you have?


  1. Stephanie, would you recommend showing it to as many family members/ friends as you can, before sending it out to someone like an agent?
    That's something I've been wondering, and I haven't ever gotten criticism with things negative about my book(s).
    So I don't know if I'm really strong enough to handle that kind of thing... =/

  2. Family members and friends are a good start. And for many of us, they're the only option. (They were for me when I first started.) What's better is someone who won't be blinded by how much they love and adore you.

    I definitely don't recommend an agent being the first person to have read your stuff. It's better to have someone else catch your mistakes, and it also shows respect for the agent's time to have your manuscript as polished as possible.

  3. okay cool, =) It'll probably be a while before I actually get it to an agent haha.
    I'm not even done editing the book that I someday want to go far with. thanks =D