Knowing when to submit

Revision update: Done!

Yes, I did make my goal of finishing my novel revision by the end of February. Yay! My husband played videogames with a friend on Saturday night, so I took the opportunity to do three chapters, then I got up early on Sunday to finish the book.

Now, the big question is, what next?

This was my fourth revision round for this book, and coming into it, I felt like all the major problems were fixed — character, plot, story — and that was confirmed by my beta readers. So this revision was about fixing awkward sentences, evaluating word choices, and muscling up the descriptions, and I had planned to send it out when I was done.

Now I’m done, and I’m not so sure.

I was in a similar position with my first book, except that I had done many more revisions. I felt good about the novel, but not as confident as I feel now about this new book. I had a little voice in my head saying, “Hmmm, are you sure about this?” And then a bigger voice said, “Sam, you’re being neurotic. It’s fine. It’s good. Let it go.”

As it turned out, I made one of the standard mistakes a lot of writers make in going out too early. My query letter wasn’t the best that it could be, and I got only a couple requests for the book. I did more research and realized the beginning of the book needed changes, which I did, but the older version had already gotten some rejections, and closed off those agents to me. Then I redid my query letter in a much better way, and got a lot more requests, but still the book wasn’t as solid as it should be. It was roundly rejected with lovely notes about how great the writing was but…

All this, I should have known. And looking back now, I did.

So, now I’m in the same position with my second book. But this time, I’m not going to make the same mistake. Sure, I’m anxious and excited to start submitting it, but I’ve worked hard, and I want to give the book its best possible chance.

In this fourth revision round, I made a lot of changes, small ones, but a lot of them. And my gut is saying, “Go through it one more time,” just in case my typing wasn’t as accurate that I hoped.

In the next week, I’m going to work on agent research, my query letter and synopsis, then I’ll do one more quick read-though before I send it out.

If my little voice gives me the go ahead. πŸ™‚

How do you know when your novel is done?

Write On!


3 Responses

  1. Andrea says:

    I’m not sure any of my novels are ever done. I eventually just get tired of revising them.

  2. Yah! Congrats!:)

    Okay, maybe you can take the advice I should have taken, and swear I WILL take next time around. Put your manuscript away for two weeks, at least. A month is even better. Then read it with fresh eyes. If you still feel it’s ready to send, then go for it.

  3. Haha, Andrea. I know what you mean.

    Beverley, thanks for the advice. I am leaving it for a week or two. Don’t know if I can wait a month — even though I know I should! πŸ™‚ But you’re right, giving your book a little distance only helps you.

What do you think?