He Sees you When You’re Sleeping: What you Should be Doing while Editors and Agents Aren’t Looking

Hopefully lots of you got requests for partials and fulls at the conference. What should you be doing to prepare your submission?

Here are a few pre-submission tips:
1.  Make sure to visit the person’s website and check out submission guidelines. You want to make sure you’re using the right format and font. Sometimes the person will forget to tell you these things at the conclusion of a critique.
2. Make sure your synopsis, query letter, and manuscript match. You don’t want to promise something in the query or synopsis that never comes to pass in the manuscript. All three elements should dovetail together nicely and form a cohesive, consistent package.
3. Keep an eye on the calendar. Faculty members assumed, unless you told them differently, your manuscript was complete. You want to submit requested materials as soon as possible. Try to get it to the person who requested no more than four to six weeks later. Publishing is a fast-paced business. Don’t give the person a chance to forget you and your project.
4. Read, edit, and revise. Look over your entire submission packet with the eye of an editor. Be certain there are no typos, misspellings or other ametuer mistakes. Try to take the things you learned at the conference and apply them to your submission.
5. Don’t mail it in a way that requires a signature unless you were specifically told to do so.

Here are some tips for after you’ve mailed or emailed the requested materials:
1. Take a deep breath. Submissions packets are time-consuming and often brain-numbing. Relax for a bit.
2. Keep writing. Whether you move to a new project or keep honing and polishing the submitted one, don’t stop working.
3. Be patient. Your submission is not the only thing on the faculty member’s desk. If they requested it, they will respond to it. Don’t call, email, or otherwise pester the crap out of them. They’ll get to it.
4. Don’t stalk the agent, editor, or publisher. Not on FaceBook or Twitter. Not by riding by their office. Or calling them repeatedly. Or sending them Christmas/Holiday Cards.
5. Don’t assume anything. Just because your material was requested, it doesn’t mean you’ll be signing a contract by month’s end. You might, and if so, great. But don’t blow all your savings or buy a new car. Be prudent and patient.
6. Remember, if you’re submitting between now and January 1, it’s the holiday season. Agents and editors take time off to be with their families. Just like you. Refer to Item 3 and drink a glass of egg nog.

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