Is your manuscript ready?

This is a question I’ve seen thrown around a lot lately, both to me personally and to others. It’s a good question, one that may not necessarily have the answer you’re looking for, and one that can almost be subjective depending on the circumstances. In either case, before you enter a contest or start querying, know if you’re ready to do so!

For contest and the query trenches alike, you’ll need to make sure you’ve done the following:

1. Actually finished writing the novel, through multiple drafts.

2. Had someone else look at it besides you, and who is not a parent, sibling, grandparent, friend, aunt/uncle/cousin, etc, etc. Get in touch with critique partners via CPSeek and have another writer look at your work.

3. Obtain beta readers. Beta readers are amazing. They look at your work from a reader’s eyes, versus a critique partner who will sometimes go so far into it as to line-edit. Both CP’s and beta’s are invaluable resources, so make sure to get a few of both.

*Remember the “too many hands in the pot” cliche, though. 1-3 CP’s works best. For beta’s it’s more up to your discretion. Just remember you can’t please everybody, but if something keeps coming up in multiple people’s comments, maybe that is something you should consider.*

4. You’ve made revisions based on multiple rounds of CP and beta feedback. Seriously. Take your time with this.

5. Consider hiring professional help. There are loads of freelance editors out there who do everything from developmental to line edits, query help, big picture edits– everything. Here are a list of those whom I’ve worked with personally and would refer to everyone:

After all this, then I’d say you’re good to go.