Saturday, June 26, 2010

Make a List and Check it Twice

In the last few days I have sent out three manuscripts to three editors. I've sent manuscripts out probably twenty-five or thirty times since I became serious about writing for children. Why is it so scary? You would think it would be the fear that one of those editors might not like what I've written. Nope, that's not the part that makes my stomach hurt. At this point I know everyone isn't going to like my story. I just want one to like it. What worries me are the little details that are big no-no's in submitting your work.

1. Don't misspell the editor's name. I've done that. Last summer, while on pain medication after major surgery, I completely changed the editor's first name. How embarrassing. The frustrating part is I discovered the mistake about 5 minutes AFTER I pressed send on the electronic submission.
2. Don't forget the SASE. I've done that too.
3. Don't put one editor's name on the cover letter with the wrong publishing company name and address. I have not done this but it has almost happened.

There are so many more goofs that make me nervous just before dropping my hard work in the mail chute or hitting the send button. Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables says, "I promise I’ll never do it again. That’s the one good thing about me. I never do the same wrong thing twice." I've learned to make a list of things to check and I read my cover letters out loud to my husband.

When it comes right down to it, if an editor wants to publish my work, maybe they will overlook my little goof-ups and my nerves are not going to keep me from submitting.


  1. I have another one. Don't re-read it, just to make sure, make one more change and then send it without waiting a day or two and reading it again. I did that with my conference submission this year. After I sent it, I read it again and realized that I'd left something in that now made no sense because I'd taken something else out. Sure enough, when I had my face to face meeting, the editor said, "I didn't quite understand this part." Well, duh. No reason he should. I was under a deadline so I had to send it when I did, but I would have been better off budgeting my time to allow a couple of days after the edit to let it rest and read it again.

    Good luck on your submissions!

  2. Thank you for your comments. How did you get your followers? I have email a few people and let my Face Book friends know. I think some of them are reading but didn't go through the joining process.

  3. I posted on Verlakay's website, and I have offered critiques. I think the critique contests have done the most good for getting followers. I'm up to 37 followers which isn't huge, but I only started in February, so I think it's really good. I also posted on the listserve for OK SCBWI and I picked up some followers there. And I try to comment on other's blogs, too. Reciprocity seems to help.