Recently I told an editor he would have to wait for my manuscript because, in making some minor changes he suggested, I had discovered a few other issues I wanted to address. This was his response:
“An author who is alert to the need for improvements without prompting by a potential editor of the project is always appealing to work with.”
I might even go so far as to say that for an agent or editor, this is one of the most attractive qualities in a writer – the ability to be critical and rigorous with one’s own work. The query-verse is flooded with half baked manuscripts. Too many writers spend too long perfecting a query for a manuscript in the hope that …what? An agent or editor will be so thrilled with the premise that they will want to see the book published, even though it’s deeply flawed? The MANUSCRIPT is what we are selling, people. Not the premise, not the voice, not the character, not even ourselves.
I know many of us have just finished or are about to finish a NaNoWriMo manuscript. For the love of all that is good and great in this world, let’s agree that these manuscripts are going to need considerable editing before they go out into the world.