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Do you wait before you submit?

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Do you force yourself to a standard waiting time before you submit your manuscript? It seems like I finally get to a place where I think it's done and feel a sense of urgency to get it out there. But a month or so later I think of other ways to improve it. (I do run things by my critique group several times first).
#1 - May 02, 2015, 12:37 PM
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If you feel extreme urgency to send something out, my advice is to -- wait. Personally, I've ruined some chances by being over-eager and sending out a ms. before it was ready.

Other times I've put a ms. away for a year and then looked at it again -- only to discover that I could see all its flaws, whereas I couldn't before. Then it was easier to fix them.

The only exception might be if you have a hot topic and/or a high concept idea that someone else might come up with first. (I'm talking mostly about picture books and shorter mss. here.)

 
#2 - May 02, 2015, 01:43 PM
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It's good to wait a month or so--as long as you don't keep putting it off forever (some writers never want to let go of their manuscripts!).
#3 - May 02, 2015, 01:46 PM

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Yes. I like to wait until I can look at the ms. and all I want to do to it is move a comma, and then the next time I move that comma back. Then I know it's ready.
#4 - May 07, 2015, 06:28 PM
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Yes. I like to wait until I can look at the ms. and all I want to do to it is move a comma, and then the next time I move that comma back. Then I know it's ready.

 :lol4
#5 - May 07, 2015, 07:32 PM
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I like waiting, whenever possible. It's also nice to have some fresh eyes on the manuscript before you submit. I absolutely love my critique groups and know how much they've helped me improve my manuscripts, but once they've seen something several times it really helps to get someone new to view it the way an editor or agent would.

If I have a conference coming up, it's nice to wait and see what a paid critiquer or first page crit says before starting to send out a newly polished manuscript.
#6 - May 07, 2015, 10:47 PM

It depends on the ms. Sometimes I know it is right. I have been doing this for 30 years, so I kinda know when I 'stick my landing' as it were. (I am feeling gymnastical today) If the book isn't *right* then I put it away for a week or a month or a year, until it catches me again and I can figure out what is off. Now I feel like mixing my metaphors: it is like playing a tune. After lots of listening, you know if the thing is off key as soon as you hear it.

It wasn't always like this, however. I used to fall in love with my creations and think they were beautiful warts and all and send them out too soon because I wanted to share them. Then, I went through a phase where nothing was good enough even after it was published. I couldn't even read my own books. Now, I love my creations again, but I have learned to love the process as well, and I love my works best when I hold them as published books with all the pain of the editorial process behind me.

Hmmmm. I need yet another metaphor….oh look! A squirrel!!!

:) eab
#7 - May 08, 2015, 06:39 AM

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This is one of the hardest parts of being a creator. But it is mandatory --at least for me.

I wait before I share with my critique group. Then I try to wait before I sub. it to my agent. There are always revisions (many ) involved so they demand more waiting. Writers spend a huge amount of time waiting, but it can make a tremendous difference in the quality of a project IF you are able to wait before you finally go out on submission.

Good luck waiting. It's so very hard. And it never gets easier. But it can really pay off.
#8 - May 08, 2015, 07:00 AM
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You're unlikely to regret waiting, and very likely to regret not waiting.

As to the matter of always thinking of yet another change or improvement, at a certain point you will notice the changes are more like tinkering, not so much real revision. Tinkering can be a never-ending thing. In fact, when it is accepted for publication your editor will make suggestions that will be more than the tinkering you are doing. So when I realized I have gone from revising to making mini-tweaks I know it's time to send it out. (Whether to Beta readers or to publishers/agents is a matter of how you are set to proceed. I use "send out" as getting anyone else to read it.)
#9 - May 08, 2015, 08:40 AM
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For the most part, I generally try to wait. If I submit at all. I know my best work is still yet to come.
#10 - May 22, 2015, 09:55 PM
« Last Edit: May 22, 2015, 10:02 PM by SarahW »
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