Last post conference post I’ll make. Promise. But here is something to consider. After conference and you’ve got that request to see a partial or a full, do yourself a favor–go through those pages with a fine tooth comb before you send them in. I know how exciting it is to get requests and you don’t want to waste a second getting them in front of that editor–but I also know the other side of that elation–the remorse of having sent in pages that were rushed in for the sake of just getting them in.
What is the point of having this opportunity, having spent all that money and time to get to conference, to get that appointment, to get that request, if you don’t then put the same time and effort into one more polish? Otherwise you might as well spend your time chasing rainbows like the one that appeared over my neighborhood the other evening.
I’ll be upfront about this: I am a huge proponent of re-writing. I rewrite my manuscripts four times at the minimum before I send them in. Each pass refines, retools, defines, weighs every word, every bit of that story experience to make sure it is all working together. And believe me, editors and agents notice the difference.
Look at it from their point of view: if you were going to buy one manuscript but you had to two to choose from, which one would you choose:
- Manuscript A which is a great story, but needs some serious editing
- Manuscript B which is an equally great story and needs very little editing
Given they are usually buried with work, the editor is going to choose the story that gives them an unprecedented weekend off.
So what do you need to do? Make sure you’ve done everything you can to make that story a compelling, fun, exciting, great read. Get rid of mistakes, typos, sentences-paragraphs-pages-chapters that don’t add to your story . Make sure your main characters are likeable. That is huge. Because a reader (aka the editor or agent) needs to like your characters, care as much about them as you do. And to do that, they need to be likeable.
So what do you think you need to do to your writing to make it saleable? What are you willing to do to get it there?
As for me? I’ve off to find that pot of gold that is obviously buried in my neighbor’s yard.