“If you think your manuscript is ready and you haven’t gone back and re-read and edited it, than it probably isn’t.”
I can’t count the amount of times I’ve seen something similar to that on any literary agency’s website. And for good reason. What literary agent wants to stick their neck out and sign a writer who doesn’t know basic subject-verb agreement, tenses, or how to use spellcheck. Seriously. Spellcheck is the easiest thing to operate on any computer. It does the work for you.
[Yes, I’m looking at you, my wonderful students, past, present, and future!]
Throughout this whole trying-desperately-to-procure-an-agent process, I’ve been going back and glancing over my manuscript and making small, but necessary tweaks here and there. Rest assured, this manuscript has been edited, re-edited, scrapped, rewritten, edited, edited, edited, scrutinized, burned, drowned, ripped into pieces, taped back together, and edited AGAIN and again until [are you done with this sentence yet? No? Ok…] I finally hand-polished it to perfection. And I LOVE what it has become. It is an exact reflection of what I envisioned seven years ago when I first starting writing it.
But every time I get a rejection from lit agent, I go back and re-read it, looking for something to fix. I think it eases my soul if I find a misplaced semi-colon or comma splice because I’m sure that agent rejected me based on ONE improper comma placement. Right? RIGHT?!
Every time I make a change, I like to twerk.
So I’ve come up with a set of Tweak Twerks.
Tweaking is necessary. It doesn’t mean that my manuscript isn’t ready, or that it isn’t the best version of what it should be. Because it is. At least I think so. But sometimes, when I’m re-reading, I’ll find a sentence that I want to reformat so that it looks cooler and bolder on the page. And YA is awesome because it lends itself to, what I like to call, CLE: Creative Letter Expression. After each new edit, I’ll sit back in my chair and go, “THIS SHIT IS EPIC. #GettingSignedTomorrow”
Then I go back and look over my query letter. “Ok,” I’ll think to myself, “It’s fairly solid, but it could use some extra TLC [not to confused with CLE…no CLE allowed in queries].” Like the other day, I finally figured out what to add into my query so that it would give agents just a smidge more synopsis, while still leaving them wanting more.
Once I hit the send button, I’m all HIGH ON LIFE because THIS IS THE ONE. THIS IS THE AGENT WHO IS GOING TO LOVE ME.
And then I get a response from an agent. THEY WANT TO SEE THE FULL MANUSCRIPT. This makes me feel like a BOSS.
And then the most curious thing happens. While I’m riding high and twerking from my post-tweak submissions, I get a response from an agent that I queried TWO MONTHS ago. #Surprise! #RememberMe?
Then there comes a point where, as a writer, all of your super awesome writer friends are having book launch parties, or announcing their upcoming novels, or followers on Twitter who are all “I JUST SIGNED WITH AN AGENT! [Subtext: YOU DIDN’T!]” This makes me feel like I was the only one left out of the party. I am Janis Ian, doomed to watch all of my awesome friends doing awesome shooters and listening to awesome music and generally soaking up each others awesomeness.
And then, once all the tweaking is done, you wait…
…and while I’m waiting — any writer knows this — I have to remind myself that it could be awhile before I hear anything.
A LONG while.
Might as well have some fun, enjoy the ride, and maybe do a little more