How Do I Know It Is Ready to Submit?

The “Your Questions Answered” Series


I’m a 78-year-old psychotherapist in a psychiatric practice and have been doing some writing for patients over the years. My question is, “How do you know when an article or book possibility is developed and written well enough to send to an agent?”

As an agency, we don’t represent articles, so I’ll confine my remarks to books. The best way to see if your book is ready to be submitted is to write the book proposal. I wrote a series about this on our blog. Here is the link:

As you can see from filling out each category, you’ll tease out problems and find holes that might keep the book from selling to a publisher.

Of course, the best proposal has to be backed up with a fantastic manuscript, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction.

To develop the book, write it. The. Entire. Book. Authors who gain contracts based on a blurb or even the possibility that they may write a book have a proven track record earned over years of writing extensive proposals and complete manuscripts on speculation. Your goal is to become one of these writers. But until then, write the book.

Your turn:

How far along are you on your current WIP?

What is your favorite part of writing?

How many books have you written? Have you sold any yet?

What is your favorite part of writing a proposal? Your least favorite?

For the entire series, click here: “Your Questions Answered.”

Leave a Comment

A Writer’s Fears (a prayer)

Save me from fear, Lord.Give me courage to write;make me “bold in our God” (1 Thessalonians 2:2) to write for you,whatever the obstacles or blockages the Enemy may throw in my way. Save me from the fear of rejection;let me write today for your approval first and foremost,and if I …

Read More

476 Ways to Avoid Writing “Said”

The folks over at created the incredible infographic below. Four hundred and seventy-six alternatives to the word “said.” Take care not to use all 476 in your manuscript! Very often “said” is all that is needed. In fact, overusing alternatives can weigh your manuscript down unnecessarily. However, I do …

Read More

Fun Fridays – October 2, 2020

You thought the Lang Lang piano video was amazing the other week? Watch this one by Denis Matsuev. I’m exhausted watching the inhuman speed with which he plays. The sheer muscle memory is breathtaking since I’m not anyone who could actually think that fast to make their fingers become a …

Read More

A Self-Editing Checklist

The “Your Questions Answered” Series __________ How about more tips on some of the pitfalls of writing? What are things to look for when you are self-editing? Here is a short list: Grammar. Most people seem to have fallen asleep during the class on plural possessives, for example. Its and …

Read More

Strange Writing Habits

In the acknowledgments for her novel In the Midst of Winter, Isabel Allende reveals that she starts each new book on January 8.  Isn’t that interesting? That little tidbit got me thinking (always dangerous, I know). So, I asked some clients to share any strange writing habits—quirks, superstitions, compulsions, etc.—they might have …

Read More

Diligence Is Rewarded

by Steve Laube

The ease of today’s social media communication brings a casual layer to the task of writing. Careful composition is trumped by the need for speed. For most “throw away” emails and posts that is the new normal. But it should never leak into the business of writing, either in craft or in delicate communication.

The other day I received an email query/proposal. There was a very large file attached and the body of the email read, “Here is my book. Please take a look.” No signature line, that was it. At least it rhymed. This was not a friend, a client, or someone I had ever met. But the casual, even flippant, nature of the note all but says, “I’m not serious about the craft or business of writing.”

The best writers are those who take their ideas and their words and run them through a gauntlet of critique and reformation. They pour their words into a garlic press and slice and dice them into bits that can flavor their entire book.

This takes time. This takes hard work. And it is a process that seems endless.

Read More

Fun Fridays – September 25, 2020

I cannot claim the below hilarity as my own. I found it years ago, floating around the internet without attribution. If you know who wrote it, let’s applaud them for creativity! Happy to add attribution or take this down if so asked. Enjoy this clever take on the word “canon.” …

Read More