Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Are You Ready to Submit? STOP! Think twice before you do!
My mentors have told me time and again to edit my work as many times as possible. Grammatical or punctuation errors are an agent’s major pet peeve. But, are you aware that there are other factors that can obliterate your optimism and your novel as well?
I had no idea that many writers fall into certain submission patterns. According to Irene Goodman who has been a top agent for more than 30 years, with many NY Times bestsellers, says that she’s been noticing a lot of good writers with the best of intentions make the same three crucial errors:
1. They try to throw too much into the story, thinking it will appeal to more people that way. The opposite is true. I ask them to identify where in the bookstore this book will be shelved. If they can't answer promptly, they've made a mistake. You can't write a mystery/romance/thriller/adventure/soap opera with a dash of science fiction. Simple is better.
2. They write a thriller that's not--well, thrilling. It may be interesting and well written, but if it's not scary, it doesn't have suspense, there is nothing big at stake, or there isn't much action, it's not much of a thriller.
3. They pick subjects that are just not commercial. Don't spend three years of your life writing a novel about King Olof Skötkonung of Sweden or a romance novel set in Germany in 1943. Learn what's commercial and what is not.
Have you submitted without double-checking your work? Are you REALLY ready to submit? Remember: “Good things come to those who wait.”