With all the fuss of NaNoWriMo behind us, our heroine emphasizes again: December is not NaNoSubMo, dear Reader. Don’t submit your new precious until you’ve edited, tightened and polished that precious until it really is a gem. So why am I addressing details to do with submission today?
We all need something to set as our goal. For writers, that often is being published. Gee, how clever is our heroine to suss that one out? The step we take for that is daunting, however: submitting our work. That’s when we take the step from creative space into the business world of publishing. I don’t know about you, but I’m happy in creative space. The business world? Not so much. Gearing up for the transition well ahead of time makes the step from one to the other less of a jolt.
Thus, a few of the little details we need to know as we slowly approach letting our creations fly and be free.
Some are accused of focusing too heavily on word count. When in creation space, that could be a stumbling block for some. For myself, when creating a rough, it’s a stepping stone. It doesn’t much matter either way because once the rough’s done, the editing commences. Your shiny gemstone at the end is perfect, right? I’ve got news for you: Your pretty gemstone’s word count has to fit within some guidelines for the business world of publishing. The Guide to Literary Agents Editor’s Blog addressed this definitively. In fact, Chuck Sambuchino titled his article Word Count for Novels and Children’s Books: The Definitive Post. It was a great relief to find this. What’s your genre? It’s addressed here. Your shiny gemstone may need further editing to fit these guidelines.
Speaking of guidelines, have you researched your potential agents’ submission guidelines? It doesn’t take long to Google and check them out. Don’t assume they’re each like the other and whatever you do, don’t Tweet or Facebook message to ask. That shouts, “I’m lazy.” Here’s one view on the subject from Call My Agent! called Line Spacing and Synopses. I was particularly interested in the little mention of synopses. Those dread things. We’ll get back to them in a moment.
Here’s a great look at what one author does to prepare a submission once his shiny gemstone is ready to go out the door. Tell Me a Story‘s Anthony James Barnett wrote an article titled Writing Tips – Submission Guidelines. He puts many personal touches in each package that goes out. Mind you, not every query leads to the submission of a manuscript. Yes, sad to say, you won’t be doing this process on a daily basis. Keep this article handy for when it’s your turn. Again, as previously pointed out, your agent’s submission guidelines trump all.
Now, as to synopses, here’s a delightful look at them that blows the “dreaded” bit right out of the water. Ann Aguirre wrote an article titled Dispelling Popular Fallacy on the subject. Hilarious and irreverent as ever, Ann takes on the whole concept of the synopsis and breaks it down to bare bones. She’s a hoot and not for the tender-hearted. You’ve been warned if you’re of a delicate nature.
Of course, NaNo isn’t the only reason we write novels. It’s passing rare that a NaNo makes it to the worthwhile gemstone phase. No, you may very well be on the precipice of submitting what is already a shiny gemstone. If so, a tip of the hat to you. I hope these links are some help. Best of luck with your submissions.
Regardless of where you are in the process, looking ahead helps you prepare. Yes, it can also intimidate. Don’t let it intimidate you out of finishing your project. Stick with it and get all the information you can. Let me help with that. What do you need, what do you want researched? Leave me comments and I’ll schedule the topics to include them.