After five years and five thousand fingerprint smudges, we repainted our entire upstairs. Initially, DH was less than thrilled with my choices–particularly the hall bathroom.
“It looks like a dreamsicle threw up in here.”
He was right and I doubted my pick, even though I never told him that. “You’ll see. As soon as I get the rugs in and the pictures up and, and, and, it will be fine,” I said with fingers crossed and wishy-washy words falling from my lips.
Well, the rugs aren’t down yet and we have yet to replace the vanity light and sconce to match the chocolate-brown accents, but…
…last night DH approved.
“I just couldn’t see it until it was all put together.”
And that, my writer friends, is exactly why we need to spit-shine our submissions before sending them off to agents and editors or self-publishing them.
We must always, always send our very best. It must not be the shell of an idea, stripped down to the paint on the wall. Our manuscripts must be complete and compelling. Touched up and accessorized perfectly to bring out the visions in our heads.
Only then can a reader appreciate what could be. Because, until then, all they will see is a work in progress–a look that can be very ugly indeed.
* If you feel compelled to send a different section of your manuscript than what is traditionally asked for, you’re not ready to query.
* If you “just finished writing my first novel”, you’re not ready for anything but a long break and a serious revision.
* If you made substantial changes to your manuscript during your last read-through, you’re not ready to unleash your writing on the reading public.
* If you feel as if replacing the faucet and countertop will make everything perfect, you must stop somewhere because you can’t afford a major remodel. Which is the great thing about writing. Every revision is free. All it takes is time and dedication.
So, don’t sell yourself short by sending out a half-finished product. Instead, take the time you need to satisfy your Inner Editor. Listen to and learn all you can about the writing business. I know you want your novel in the hands of readers right now. So do I. But, showing our babies to the world before they are truly ready will only garner rejections, negative reviews and heartbreak.
And the last thing we want to hear about our manuscripts is that they look like a hodge-podge of ideas and characters vomited onto the page.
So, go forth and remodel. You have my permission.