“Be Smart! Submit Your Manuscript” by Joan Y. Edwards
Okay. I admit it. Last year I didn’t submit a manuscript every month. However, I did submit. What you and I do sometimes is focus on what we didn’t do. I want you to focus on being proud of your efforts, even if the Pub Subbers hopscotch has 12 spaces (one for each month) and you stepped out of the box in space 1. So what! Love yourself where you are. By loving yourself, you’ll keep moving forward. When you think in shoulds – I should have done this. I should have done that – you may become frozen to the spot and do nothing.
The point I’m trying to make is sometimes you don’t give yourself credit for all you’re doing. Sometimes you’re doing little things to help your writing career that are not clearly in the box called manuscript submissions. Sometimes you’re dealing with crisis situations in your life. Other times you may have different priorities for your time. Honor yourself and keep believing you’ll be published by a traditional publisher or whatever kind of publisher you want.
Know that you are a great writer and you will be published:
…even though you take detours
…even though you don’t submit a manuscript every month
…even though no one in your critique group understands your story
Remember what happens in real life, occurs in your mind first. Believe and imagine the good things you want to happen. You have to believe it. You have to imagine it.
It takes courage to share your work with a critique group. It takes guts to ask to present a workshop in person or online. It takes determination to raise your family and write, too. However, you can do it. I believe in you. God believes in you.
When your manuscript is the best that it can be right now, submit it. This means that you’ve gone through at least 3-7 revisions. You’ve had your critique group read every chapter. They’ve given you positive feedback and places where the story is confusing or needs correction.
Let it sit in a special writers’ crock pot by itself for a couple of weeks. While it’s in there, your subconscious mind heats up new ideas on how to make it better. Or put it in the cellar for two weeks. Like great wine, when you read it later you’ll be amazed at the really great parts. You might say to yourself, “Did I write that? Wow! That’s pretty good.”
On the other hand, you may find parts where you say to yourself, “Oh my goodness. Did I write that? This is not good. I’m surprised I didn’t catch that error two weeks ago. My critique partners didn’t catch it, either.”
That’s when you’ll change it to a higher level of satisfaction with improved writing skill.
To help you decipher smart things for professional, soon to be published writers to do, I’ve devised an exercise. First, I listed 10 Smart things for writers to do. Then I’ve listed 10 Not So Smart things for writers to do. Can you rewrite the Not So Smart ones to Smart ones?
Smart things for writers to do.
- Read books that teach you how to improve a writing or marketing skill.
- Read books in your genre.
- Live. Travel. Study. Write about your experiences.
- Set the timer and write 10 minutes a day. Chances are you’ll get into it and write longer.
- Have a critique partner or group read your work and point out three Blue Ribbon Passages (the great parts), tell you where the meaning is not clear, and any errors in spelling, word usage, and punctuation.
- Visualize yourself autographing a copy of your book in a bookstore or writing conference.
- Study the current online submission guidelines for publishers and/or agents you believe are a good match for you and your manuscript.
- Study the query letters and cover letters of published authors.
- Study the body language of your family, friends, and strangers
- Submit the same story to publishers and agents who accept simultaneous submissions.
NOT SO SMART things for writers to do. Silly Sally did all the things listed below. Can you change these to Smart things for her to do so she can get published? Then she can be called “Smart Sally.”
- Submit your manuscript without having someone critique it.
- Submit your first draft.
- Submit your non-fiction book to a publisher of only hot fiction romance.
- Submit your manuscript without checking it for spelling errors that spell-check software won’t find.
- Submit your manuscript in April when the submission guidelines said to submit only during October and November.
- Submit your manuscript to all five agents at a literary agency.
- Submit the only copy of your manuscript.
- Print and submit your manuscript without reading it for errors.
- Send your manuscript by email when the publisher accepts only snail mail submissions.
- Go swimming at the YMCA to write a documentary about how the YMCA has improved the health of America, but don’t write the story.
Below are Pub Subbers (PubSub3rdFri) Step-by-Step directions for submission to a publisher, agent, or contest:
- Week 1
- Week 2
- Week 3 Pub Subbers aim for submitting a manuscript on the Third Friday of the month, but earlier or later is fine.
- Week 4
Thank you for reading my blog. Richard M. Voza left a comment on June 14, 2013 saying he wished someone would write his query letter for him.
There were contests with this blog post. The winners are in the comments area.
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Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards
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