Three Reasons It’s Not Too Late to Submit

Sometimes I meet authors who wonder if they’ve waited too long after they’ve met with me at a conference to submit to me. Without exception (at least, without any exceptions I can think of), the answer is no. It is never too late. Why not?

  • If you’re going to conferences and taking classes to learn, I want to see what you apply. Writers attending conferences are, in part, students. Sometimes I forget that I entered this profession with a lifelong commitment to publishing and a journalism degree. Not everyone who wants to write for publication today had the chance to earn a degree. Or, they may hold one or more advanced degrees, but in different disciplines such as physics, law, or theology. Learning all they can about writing books for publication through conferences is a good move. That said, I want to see the manuscript that results from what the writer has learned, not one dashed off in a rush.
  • I have no intention of going out of business for many years. So, as Momma says, “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise,” I plan to be available to review your manuscripts for a long time. Any day is a great day to receive a superb proposal.
  • If a publisher goes out of business today, then it’s good that we didn’t submit to them anyway. I work with major publishers who are committed to their mission. That’s not to say it’s impossible someone will close tomorrow, but for the foreseeable future, the publishers I’ll be sending your work to will be in need of stellar proposals today, tomorrow, and decades from now. For them, any day is a great day to receive a superb project.

So if you write me to say, “I met you in (fill in city) in (fill in distant year), you can still submit a proposal to me. I’ll be happy to take a look!

Your turn:

Do you feel rushed to send proposals out soon after conferences? Why or why not?

What is the longest you waited to submit a proposal?

Have you ever rewritten a proposal based on what you learned at a conference?

12 Responses to Three Reasons It’s Not Too Late to Submit

  1. Avatar
    Carol Ashby March 29, 2018 at 7:14 am #

    I like the old saying, “If there isn’t time to do it right, will there be time to do it over?” But waiting too long gets you nowhere, too. Striking the right balance can be hard.

    For now, all my proposals go to Cerrillo Press, AKA me. Cerrillo is “little hill” in Spanish, and I’m the baby of the Hill family. But if I ever did seek an agent, you’d be on the shortest of my lists for something polished and ready. But only after it was the best I could do. Initial speed matters most in sprints, not marathons.

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray March 29, 2018 at 9:31 am #

      Good points! Wishing you the best with your business.

    • Avatar
      Michael April 2, 2018 at 8:47 pm #

      I met my wife to be in high school. My future father-in-law always used to say to me if you don’t have time to do it right the first time where the hell you going to find time to do it right the second time. I think of those words every time I start to rush through something.

  2. Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser March 29, 2018 at 7:20 am #

    Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.

  3. Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser March 29, 2018 at 9:30 am #

    Tamela, also…I did not get an email notification of today’s post. First time it’s happened, so I thought you should know in case there’s a software issue.

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray March 29, 2018 at 9:33 am #

      Thank you, Andrew. Yes, I noticed and asked our administrator. Unfortunately, it was a technical error with the software and we don’t know what happened. So glad you stopped by!

  4. Avatar
    Joey Rudder March 29, 2018 at 11:21 am #

    This is good information to know. I think I hit panic mode too often and feel rushed. I can’t even imagine how frantic (excited!) I would be if you or another agent asked me to submit after meeting at a conference. I need to grow in this area (among many others) and submit when the proposal and manuscript are spit-shined. (Ooh, well maybe not to that degree. 😉 ) But I believe I’ve read recent posts here…to have things polished and done to the best of our ability before submitting, to take our time and do it right. So no more rushing around and dodging mud puddles like a crazy woman for me!

    “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise,” one day it will happen. 🙂 (I love that saying. We have a friend who always says it.)

    Thank you, Tamela. Still learning here. Have a blessed Easter!

  5. Avatar
    Tracey Dyck March 29, 2018 at 2:57 pm #

    Good to know! I received a possible open door at Realm Makers last year, but have since been hard at work revising the very novel I pitched, and attending business school as well. So I haven’t submitted anything yet. It’s encouraging to hear that submissions are better late than never!

  6. Avatar
    Kristen Joy Wilks March 30, 2018 at 1:58 pm #

    I once sent in a proposal 18 months after I met the editor at a conference. He said that was just fine. And yeah, I’ve reworked proposals due to stuff learned at a conference, entire manuscripts have been turned from one book to two books and halfway back to one book again due to conference sessions.

  7. Avatar
    Steve Watkins March 31, 2018 at 7:22 am #

    Does this mean if we’ve met it’s okay to submit directly to you, or must it go to someone else first?

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