Let This Be the Red-Hot Poker That Prods You to Submit

Before you flee in X-rated uncertainty (or, maybe that’s why some of you cheekier-ones are here?), let me clarify that the submission I speak of is rated “G” for writer-ly audiences.  Yes, I’m talking to you, writers, whether you are aspiring, professional, or just have that one story that’s been burning a hole in your lap-top.  I’m talking about picking up that over-edited stack of papers, that polished query, that brilliant poem, and finally sending them out.  Not tomorrow.  Today.

It’s amazing how many people I run into (especially here in blogosphere) who dream, write and edit for endless hours a day, never to submit a page.  I’ve discussed writing for love or money already, but this is in a different category.  These are people who actually do want to be published, but just can’t, or don’t know how to pull the trigger.

It’s true that there are definite nuts and bolts to the process of submitting your work.  Having a strong grasp of these guidelines will increase your odds of publication, and endear you to potential editors.  If you don’t know the rules, go to your local library or book store, pick up the current Writer’s Market or any “How-To” in your publishing specialty (of which there are MANY) and learn them!  After that, it’s time to submit.

If you’re working on a book-length project that isn’t ready to leave you, yet, you can at least send a few sample chapters to your first readers.  Set goals that you can keep, but make sure there is a challenge.  Believe it or not, that’s part of the fun.

I’ll admit that I often have trouble with getting my work out.  My goal to send one query per day, and one short story or set of poems per week has been difficult to maintain.  “Life,” crazily enough, does happen to get in the way sometimes.  There’s also the little problem that to submit work, you first need a finished product.  On my About page, you’ll see that I’ve been “nurturing” an incomplete manuscript of my own for quite some time.  But, I’ve recently felt the red-hot poker of determination, and am ready to finish this baby up by the end of the summer!  (And, now that I’ve put this goal into writing, feel free to hold me to it).

There are many blogs on here that post word-count goals, and cite their writing timelines — this is a great start.  Make sure you go a step further, and set submission deadlines for yourself, too.  Post them online, or write them in a journal and sign the page in blood (red pen will do nicely, too).

Choosing not to send out your work can also be a question of confidence.  The act of submitting is, in fact, putting something out there for judgment or approval.  Rejection and criticism are not fun or easy razors to swallow.  However, most feedback is valuable for improving your work.  And, like Papa always said, “You’ll never know, if you never try.”

So, what are you waiting for?  Set it out into the world, my friends, and see what comes of it.  Your masterpiece was meant to be shared to entertain, teach and inspire others.  And, it will make me feel so much better. 

Still need convincing?  Then, turn around, bend over, and get ready for a fiery “pinch”…

Good luck!

22 thoughts on “Let This Be the Red-Hot Poker That Prods You to Submit”

  1. Great blog and most encouraging. I know exactly what you mean. Us writers delaying things. Sometimes I think we delay because saying “I’m writing a novel.” sounds more exciting than: “I’m waiting to hear from 10 agents. It’s been 6 months…”

    I have a deadline to finish my final draft on the 31st July and I plan to spend the month of August submitting so your inspiring blog comes at a very good time 🙂


  2. Good timing for me too. I’m doing a final huge edit right now. My goal is to be done by the end of July. August I plan to polish a little more and get some beta readers. Then one more polish after the betas. October is the month I’ve set to really start submitting.


    1. Hmmm…I’m feeling a little behind here. I’m glad this conversation got started, because I feel I’m held accountable to get moving now. Good luck to you 🙂


    1. Hi Diane — thanks for stopping by! You should definitely finish it — even if it doesn’t get published, it might be a stepping stone for future projects.


  3. A great request, Amanda. If one writes for oneself alone, wonderful…but if the goal is to be published, then take that giant leap as soon as possible–it’s amazing how good it feels to let the world in on what you’ve been working so hard on. And don’t fear the rejections–embrace the positives–it’s no different than any risk in life: if you don’t try, you’ll never know the joy of meeting your goals, whatever they may be.


  4. I sent out the manuscript to beta-readers for the summer. In September I’ll start querying – mostly because one of the agents I targeted is closed to submissions until October 1st, but I’ll start querying the others first. During the summer I plan on researching more agents & publishers, so in September I’ll be ready (I know I’ll have to re-change a couple of minor things because I’m still working on the world, and I’ll have to keep in mind the beta-readers comments, but I’m ready now! ;-)). I’m also editing the other novels during the summer, so I’m busy! 😀
    Happy writing!


  5. Great post, Amanda! I can’t agree more with you that submitting your work takes gumption, but I feel there’s no point to writing (at least for me) if you’re not willing to put yourself out there. I’ll definitely be taking that step as soon as my WIP is ready.

    Good luck to you for completing that manuscript! And thanks for stopping by my blog.


  6. Great post Amanda and thank you for the much needed encouragement! I’m thinking about submitting my novels and start sending query letters in a few months and I think it will be an understatement to say that I am scared. But I’m doing it… Because I want my work to be out there, I want to be a published write…


  7. I’m hoping I remember to come back and read this post when my manuscript is complete. I can so see myself holding onto it and tweaking it for years and at last giving up without ever having submitted. Great message here!


    1. Thanks, Kimberly. I think over-tweaking is a very real writer’s “disease.” Just finish it, polish it, and get it out the door. Best of luck!

      Thank you, brownpaperbaggirl 🙂

      Hema — thanks for your comments! Love the word “gumption,” and a writer definitely needs some to succeed in the publishing world~

      Lua — you’re already so “out there” (as far as reaching a significant reader-base) I don’t think you’ll have any problems with the submission process. Good luck!


  8. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I just read through several of your posts and enjoyed them. I published a few things years ago and took a twelve year hiatus from writing, just started back around 8 months ago and opened my blog. I am just getting nervy enough to start sending a couple of things out there…for the love of writing, rejection hurts!!!! Also, found out that most places won’t even consider something that has been published even on a personal blog which I happen to post a bit of my poetry, oh well!


  9. Ooh, what a good kick this post is. I’ve worked to keep my poetry editing website updated each week (http://gillianwallace.ca).

    But yeah, I have badly slipped up on the mailing stuff out. I like your goal of doing it each week.

    And as for my novel, botoxed is more like it. Must stop editing and let go.

    Hope your writing is going well!


  10. Yes! I’m humming the Rocky theme song now, Amanda. Exactly what I needed to read this morning. It’s time to get on the train or get the heck out of the way.





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