Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Dear Scott, This is my first story..."

When do you submit a story to an editor or an agent? Do you submit your first project or do you wait?

We all have to go through that first manuscript and certainly the first submission at some time or another. I have to say, however, that more often than not, I find that I have to write a rejection letter to that author instead of asking for more stories. Why? The writing is just quite right. No, I don't reject anyone simply because it is their first story; and yes, I have read more of a project or signed an author with a first story.

The issue for most new authors is the lack of really finding the right personal voice in their story. It is, for lack of a better word, missing the maturity that comes from writing experience. What I often see are projects that have all of the right pieces, but used awkwardly in the story. This goes back to the ideas I have talked about in the past about knowing why we use the techniques in writing.

I don't want to tell you not to submit. You never know if the project is right for the agent or editor that you contact. Just don't feel the need to rush it. Your gut will tell you when it is the right time to submit the project.

I always like to tell writers to take their time on the first project. Certainly get the story finished, but continue to learn and grow. It may be your 2nd or even 15th story that is finally ready to be submitted. Even then, it may still not be right.



  1. As a "fresh" voice (euphemism for haven't-quite-figured-out-what-I'm-doing-yet!) I hear the truth in this post. There isn't any writing effort that is wasted energy. You have to love those "ugly babies" --but don't have to bring them out of the trunk!

  2. This time last year I was going to have my book written within three months. I have just finished the first edit. Having learned so much from the experienced out there, I know I will not be ready until at least edit three... or will that be thirty three? ;)

    Thanks for the usual good advice, it is valued.