Perfect or Detailed. Mutually Exclusive?
As an acquisitions editor, I see many different types of writers. For almost eight months, I've been emailing and occasionally speaking with an author who “talks” like she has a terrific book—even more than one book. Despite my encouragement to send the material, this author has never completed her proposal or a sample of her manuscript. In her view, it still needs more work and isn't ready to send to an editor or agent—despite the multiple requests. Her perfectionism is keeping her from taking action and moving forward. Know anyone like that in your own life?
In contrast, I often see submissions which are unprofessional and missing elements. Maybe the proposal doesn't have the word count for the manuscript or the author's contact information including their mailing address (or skype if they are outside of the U.S.). Or when I read the material it has no pattern or cohesion like it was thrown together and sent off to an editor or agent to sort out the details and see if it is a fit to be published.
The balance is some place between these two extremes. You want your submission to be complete and professional. Many of us in the publishing community have created terrific resources so you can learn what a literary agent or editor expects with a submission. I often refer writers to my free book proposal checklist (use the link). I want to encourage you to take action on your book or book proposal. What are you doing to keep moving forward?
Do you already have a book and want to sell more copies? Then what actions are you taking to make that happen? Are you reaching out to book reviewers or writing a press release or the dozen other ways to stir book sales? If you want this information, follow the links in my last sentence because each one goes to a free teleseminar that I've created.
From my years in publishing, it is important to take action every day. The details are important but it is also important to constantly be expanding your network of people. You will never reach the right person by yourself. I encourage you to attend conferences and meet new people. Last Friday and Saturday, I was at the Castle Rock Writers Conference meeting writers and editors. As I spoke with others, I freely gave out my business cards (yes plural because I have two—my Morgan James Publishing card and my local Colorado business card).
While giving my own cards was important, I also made a point to ask for a card from each person—or at least wrote down their basic contact information if they didn't have a business card. Why? Because I want to continue to work at expanding my network and connections to others. You can take the same actions.
Here's a reality of the publishing world: you only need one connection. It's like the realtor reminding me when we sell a home, you only need one buyer. For your writing, you are looking for the right agent or the right editor to champion your cause. This connection is out there—but you have to be taking daily action to make this connection.
Our world is full of dreams, joy and hope. Notice the image I included with today's article—a pile of rocks with words on them. Take action today and let me know how I can help you.