Some of you may know that I’m part of the Wild Writers critique group and we rotate blogging about a variety of writing-related or other topics. On July 29, fellow Wild Writer Caroline Stutson blogged about sending manuscripts out before they are ready in Off It Goes!
I’ve definitely been guilty of this, but haven’t done it in some time. I recall one manuscript years ago that I sent out, then showed it my critique group, who had fabulous suggestions for improvement. I was so frustrated with myself for sending it out before giving it to them!
Well, I Kind of Did It, But Not Really…
Confession Time: I actually did something recently (July 19 to be exact). I rewrote a manuscript and become so enamored with the new version that I sent it to my agent three days later (I had the decency to let it sit for the whole weekend…wow). This is the same manuscript I mentioned in the August 2 Writer’s Studio: Brainstorming Your Way Out of The Box. But the thing that’s good about this is that it went to my agent, not a publisher, so she could review it (she loved it, but also loved the first version), get opinions from other agents, and we could discuss it. We hadn’t “wasted” a submission by sending it out too quickly–though I was convinced it was brilliant and would get snapped up right away. I ha also thought that about another picture book manuscript with my former agent; it went on to get eight or nine rejections before we decided we’d better regroup. Ah, well.
How Soon Is Too Soon?
I always encourage writers to set a manuscript aside for at least two weeks, preferably a month if they can stand it (that’s easier if you have a critique group who will have it for awhile). If you are absolutely over the moon about it like I was, give it to a trusted reader. But even if s/he shares your enthusiasm, give it some time and get some feedback if at all possible. I can guarantee if you wait, you’ll see things you didn’t see before and you will revise.
Next week I will talk about something I discuss in my classes, but you don’t hear very often elsewhere: Are you ready to submit (and handle what comes with it)?
Are you guilty of submitting too soon? What have you learned from that experience?