Thursday, September 16, 2010
These Shoes Just Don't Seem Ready
Of course, the person wearing them doesn't seem to notice that they have no toe. I think we writers sometimes fall into the same lack of awareness when it comes to our own work. On Tuesday, I posted about how the hardest lesson I've learned in my journey to publication was that you shouldn't query too soon. So many of you commented something like this: "Yeah, but how do you really know when your work is ready?" Well, I can't answer that, but I can tell you when it isn't ready. Below, you will find my list of the top three reasons not to query yet. (I had it up to 10, but that would have made for a really long post, and you all know how I feel about those.) Anyway, here is how you know you aren't ready to query: #3: It's the first thing you've ever written or even attempted to write, and the version you are about to query is almost identical to your first draft. Don't get me wrong; first novels can be successful, but not first drafts. I could be wrong here, but I doubt that even Stephen King himself submits a first draft for publication. REVISE. REVISE. REVISE. #2: You've never taken a writing course, read a book on the craft, or followed any agent/publisher blogs. A lot is to be said for knowledge. Not even the best athlete goes into a game without training. Practice the craft, learn the business, and then do it all again several times. #1: Your mom, husband, sister, daughter, dog, whatever, thinks your manuscript is the best thing ever written, but no one else has ever laid eyes on it. These people are great, but they are biased and some might even be afraid to be honest with you. Unless you've had a professional editor and/or awesome crit partners read your work, don't query! Okay, so these are my Thursday's Thoughts. I'd love to hear what you think. Do you know when your work is ready? If so, please share. If not, then please tell us how you know when it's not ready.