You’ve done it! You’ve slogged through the rough draft, rolled with the punches during revisions, murdered your darlings. Your writing area now looks like a scene out of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But what you’re left with on screen is a work of beauty. Art! Dream on paper errr pixels. Congratulations!
So what’s next? Consult this short, handy check list, that’s what.
1 ) Is your manuscript really finished? If so, does your word count fit within genre standards? If you’re unsure, check these sites: Chuck Sambuchino’s How Long Should a Book Be? and Litrejections’ Word Count.
2 ) Then, even if you think it’s ready, run a quick search on some nit words and eradicate them, if necessary. Sentences with words like had, seemed, felt, that, watched, and just as well as many ly’s can often be revised to make a more dynamic story. Also search for vanilla description and jazz it up. Vanilla words include but are certainly not limited to: ran, sat, walked, looked etc. anything that doesn’t exactly describe how a character did something or doesn’t show the reader some of the character’s mood or personality.
3 ) Take your agent submissions list and double check those agent facts! They open and close to submissions throughout the year and sometimes change their guidelines, so ensure the ones you plan to send to are currently open AND accept your genre. As in for sure accept it. If in doubt, Google them and read their interviews, check out their blogs, check their Twitters – most will post #mswl (ManuScript Wish List). Stalk it. Know it. Love it. Breaaaaathe it. One of the top complaints I see on agent feeds is the overwhelming number of queries they get for genres they don’t represent. Don’t be among the uninformed.
4 ) Do a final read through on your submission packet – query letter and synopsis included.
5 ) Then, the final moment! Prepare each submission per agent guidelines (found on their site) and let your pretties fly! *cackles*