Congratulations! You’ve written an awesome novel, and you’re ready to send out queries to agents and publishers! I’m excited for you! Writing a book is no small feat, I applaud you! But…
is your manuscript ready to send out?
You’ve sacrificed a lot to write this book, I know. You’ve lost sleep you might never recover by staying up late plotting, agonizing over the perfect word for that sentence, and you’ve laughed and cried with the characters in your beloved story. Perhaps you gave up your day job to write full time, got rid of cable television, and sold items in your home to purchase more books to accompany the stacks of books against the wall of your writing nook because you must read in order to learn to write well! Your friends and family are a bit irritated with you for declining invitations, and they’re ready to have you back in their lives. Your dog no longer comes when you call him for a walk because you write in silence, and he’s forgotten the sound of your voice. You seem to turn every single conversation with family and friends into a plug for your book because that’s what you eat, drink, dream about, and breathe these days, and you can’t stop it. You no longer accept dates on weekends because you write 24/7, and you pray you meet the person of your dreams at your book launch, book signing, or a writer’s conference because you don’t get out much.
Welcome to the writer’s life. Wait, that’s my life, but the questions remains: Is your manuscript ready to send out?
No doubt you’ve purchased the current Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents, and spent hours combing through every page, highlighting agents who represent your genre. All this while editing the heck outta your novel, right? You’ve enlisted family and friends to read your draft manuscript, and they’ve given you the thumbs up. A few intrepid souls have read your manuscript again after you’ve made changes, and you’ve promised them the world and then some for the wonderful gift of reading your book. They’re awesome!
Does this sound like you?
You’ve removed all unnecessary adverbs, and reworded every sentence to get rid of the words, ‘that’ ‘really’ ‘just’ don’t help your story. You own a great dictionary, thesaurus, and books on character traits, writing the perfect novel, editing the perfect novel, and books on creating believable characters and dialogue. Perhaps you’ve hired a professional editor for a concept edit, and you’ve decided to do your own editing. Maybe it’s the other way around, you’ll take care of the concept edit because hey, it’s your story, right? You’ve read your story aloud to get the rhythm right, and you’ve even taped yourself reading your book. You’ve read other books in your genre to see what’s out there, and to make sure your story is unique and interesting. Your dialogue is natural, there is tension on practically every page, and the arc of the story is fabulous! Your manuscript may be ready!
May I offer you a bit of unsolicited advice? Read your manuscript again. Edit again and again until you have the most wonderful piece of literature; a book you’ll be proud of. If you haven’t enlisted the help of an editor, please do. Then, send those queries out! Best wishes!