Preparing for Submission
One of the most important things an author can do when they’ve finished their book is to self-edit before anyone else sees it. During this self-editing, one should always pay attention not only to plot and sentence structure, but also spelling. Keep an eye out for those pesky homophones and words you might have spelled wrong.
Why is this important? You are an author, the master of words. It does not make a good impression on a submissions manager if you send them a first draft. It’s unprofessional at a level that will soon earn you a reputation for not putting your best work forward.
As an author, you have one chance to make a good impression with a publisher. Sending a less than professional manuscript to one, even if you’ve already been published by this company, will make the submissions manager or editor in chief wonder if you’re growing as an author or if you will be willing to do what it takes to market your book. Only you, the author, is capable of keeping this situation from happening.
Your first job once you complete a book is to let it rest for at least a week. During that time, you can plan your next book, decide on how you’ll approach the promotion for your resting book, or take a trip somewhere to clear your mind. Whatever it takes, so that you approach your freshly minted novel ready to change from creative mode to editing mode.
Once you reopen your masterpiece, you should be thinking about how your beta readers suggested that things be changed. Or you should be focusing on what your critique group told you was wrong. Attack those points first, taking your time to read for continuity. You should also be making sure you didn’t change a character’s name at some point.
Once you’ve done all this, you need to take the step of doing a spelling and grammar check, to clear up those things you missed in the first look through.
Ah, now you’re ready to submit. Right?
Now it’s time to rest your book again, to let your mind focus on other things, to forget the whole thing. Give this quite a while and when you feel the urge, take another peek. Make sure you’re doing this when you’re not going to be interrupted. Go through and read each word and sentence as though you aren’t the author. Look for sentences that are beautifully crafted but make no sense now that you’re the reader. Rewrite those sentences, break them up into several sentences until they move the plot along, and then repeat this action throughout the book.
Finally, you reach the end. Surely, this must be the final step.
Or is it just another tiny inch forward in ensuring your book is as good as it can be. You’re now questioning yourself, wondering if you’ll ever find all the errors. All good authors go through this and finally realize, after several more readings, they’re unnecessarily adding information, or deleting what you previously thought were great scenes.
Now it’s time to stop, to do one last spell check, and send your work out.
About the K.C. Sprayberry
Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.
She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Those who know her best will tell you that nothing is safe or sacred when she is observing real life. In fact, she considers any situation she witnesses as fair game when plotting a new story.
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