As we head into the final days and hours of NaNoWriMo I’d like to toss a few thoughts out to you weary, exhausted authors on how and when to send your manuscript out to publishers or agents.
I know what you’re thinking, I’ve been there. My first novel with Samhain, “Blaze of Glory” was a 2008 NaNo novel. I know that wonderful feeling of holding up your finished NaNo novel to the sky like the wise monkey in The Lion King and proclaiming “It is done!”
I also know that you’re not done, you’re not even close to being done. You’ve finished the sprint, now you have to survive the marathon. Now you have to take your first draft and turn it into a publishable work – and that’s going to take longer than a few hours in the wee hours of December.
Now I know there’s pundits out there who claim that you can whip out a novel or story in a few weeks and take only hours to edit it to publishable quality – but I’m not one of them. It’s likely that you’re not either. Sorry…
Editors and agents cringe to open their email boxes on December 1st because there’s always going to be a plethora of NaNo works clogging the pipes – most of which might be quite publishable with a bit of polish.
Actually, a lot of polish.
I worked on Blaze from the end of NaNo for seven months, only submitting it to Samhain in June of 2009. I got a request for a rewrite and it was accepted a few months later and published in April 2010. Even after working on it for seven months it needed *another* runthrough and then the tender hands (read: whipping and beating that would put any Dom to shame) of my editor to get it ready for publication.
Please, please, please – don’t send your work out in December. Put it aside for a few weeks, maybe even a few months to let yourself recharge and then go back in to edit it and polish it up to as high a quality as you can. Don’t waste your first chance with an agent or publisher by sending out anything less than your best work.
And that’s not going to be on December 1st.