Are you Still Submitting Before Revising?


Before you sent off that manuscript to an editor, did you revise? Why not?


This week, I’ll talk about submissions.

Are you Still Submitting Before Revising?

You finish a manuscript and in the heat of the moment, you think it’s brilliant. You stuff it in an envelope and send it off. A week later you re-read it and start, well, just tinkering a bit, not much. A week later, the story has changed drastically.

Even happen to you?

I’ll confess. My weakness is sending a manuscript off in the heat of the moment. What does NOT work for me is the advice to put something away in a drawer for three months. Are you kidding? Why would I want to ignore a great story for that long? I can not do this.

Here’s what I do instead:

  • Critique group or partners: The most important check is various critique groups or partners. I always send my picturebooks through several people to see if they have any reservations, suggested changes, etc.
  • Schedule Marketing Days: I try to schedule days to market, and not make submissions except on those days. This is great, because it forces me to wait. But I can tell myself that I’m waiting because marketing days have their own mind set, which is different from the creative writing days. How often I market depends on the season, but usually twice a month, I sit down and read newsletters, read the SCBWI boards, Verla Kay’s boards, the Purple Crayon, etc and update my database. More on how I research markets in the “Are You Still Submitting Blind” posting later this week. I’ll link to all these places in that posting.
  • Listen to that small still voice: OK. I have read enough children’s literature that I know when something isn’t working. Too often, I’ve ignored that. “The editor will want revisions anyway; I’ll address that when I revise for them.” Uh, no. You won’t get that chance to revise for them, if you don’t make changes now. I’ve learned to listen to any hesitations about my story. Those niggling questions mean the story isn’t ready to send out. Listen to your own advice!
  • Send it out: When I send out a mss, I do it with this attitude: This is the best manuscript I can write at this time and I can’t think of another thing to do on it and neither can my critique friends. I’ll cheerfully send it and take whatever happens.

  • susi gregg fowler
    March 7, 2008

    darcy — this is a brilliant bit of advice. i keep saying i’m going to
    schedule marketing days but too often just try fitting it in with everything else, sometimes making foolish decisions precisely because the writing and marketing mindsets are different. i’d never quite put my finger on why i need to wait for a “marketing day.” thanks for the tips! – susi

  • darcy
    March 7, 2008

    VERY different mindsets!