Skip to main content

How Do You Know When You're Ready to Submit?

If you’re even pondering this question, chances are you need to slow your roll. I get it—you’re excited, you’ve worked really hard, your mom likes it, you’re worried someone else is going to beat you to the punch with a similar idea, your particular genre is really hot right now, you have people waiting for it—I’ve used all of these excuses and more. When I finished my first draft of BLOOD AND SALT I immediately sent it off to a dozen top YA agents. Rejections and a few lukewarm maybes soon followed. I knew I had a good concept, because people were interested in seeing the work, but it wasn’t enough to make anyone jump out of their seat. And that’s what I wanted. It was a real rookie mistake, and I worried that I’d damaged my chances of finding my dream agent. I felt like I had one more shot at this and I was going to make it count.

(Learn why "Keep Moving Forward" may be the best advice for writers everywhere.)


Column by Kim Liggettauthor of 2015 novel BLOOD AND SALT
(September 2015, G.P Putnam's Sons). At sixteen, Kim Liggett
left for New York City to pursue a career in music and acting.
After settling down, she created a children’s art education program
and a travel company specializing in tours for musicians. She’s married
to jazz musician Ken Peplowski, has two grotesquely beautiful teens,
and a very neurotic dog. Connect with her on Twitter

That’s when I decided to get serious. I put on the blinders. I stopped thinking about the market or what ifs and dove into my nearly yearlong revision with renewed vigor. I pushed myself to write out of my comfort zone. I stopped censoring myself and wrote the book of my heart. I put it all on the line.

But I didn’t stop there. I sent it to three trusted beta readers and incorporated their feedback. I read it aloud to my dog, my kids, anyone who would listen. I found an app to make the most boring computer voice in the world read it aloud, which is painful, but a great way to catch repeated words and phrasing. I agonized over every single word and comma. And when I was finally finished, I found that I was afraid to submit. I’d done my absolute best, but what if my best still wasn’t good enough?

That question haunted me.

I knew I had to do things differently this time. I chose five agents that I’d met at conferences, and hit send.

I was prepared to hunker down for an agonizing wait, but something amazing happened! The following day, I got my first offer. And the next day, I got three more.

And three weeks later, BLOOD AND SALT sold at auction to Penguin Random House in a two-book deal. All the work, all the time I put into making it right, paid off in a big way.

The moral of this story is, publishing will wait for you. Take the time to make it right and you’ll be able to move forward with zero regrets. Maybe this isn’t the manuscript that you’ll break in with, but knowing that you gave it your all will catapult you into your next best thing.

Whatever happens, don’t give up. Keep pushing yourself. Stay focused on the writing and good things will come.

(Pay it Forward -- 11 Ways You Can Help a Friend Market Their New Book.)


Check Out These Great Upcoming Writers' Conferences:

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 3.39.23 PM

Your new complete and updated instructional guide
to finding an agent is finally here: The 2015 book
GET A LITERARY AGENT shares advice from more 
than 110 literary agents who share advice on querying, 
craft, the submission process, researching agents, and
much more. Filled with all the advice you'll ever need to
find an agent, this resource makes a great partner book to
the agent database, Guide to Literary Agents.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 596

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a punishment poem.

Jacquelyn Mitchard: On Forgiveness in Fiction

Jacquelyn Mitchard: On Forgiveness in Fiction

Award-winning novelist Jacquelyn Mitchard discusses the chance meeting that led to her new novel, The Good Son.

Sea Bound

Sea Bound

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, write about someone connected to the sea.

writersMarket_wd-ad_1000x300 (1)

Get Published With the Latest Market Books Editions

Get published and find more success with your writing by using the latest editions of the Market Books, including Writer's Market, Poet's Market, Guide to Literary Agents, and more!

Michigan Quarterly Review: Market Spotlight

Michigan Quarterly Review: Market Spotlight

For this week's market spotlight, we look at Michigan Quarterly Review, the flagship literary journal of the University of Michigan.

Desperate vs. Disparate (Grammar Rules)

Desperate vs. Disparate (Grammar Rules)

This post looks at the differences between desperate and disparate with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

What Is Pastiche in Literature, and Why Is Sherlock Holmes Perfect for It?

What Is Pastiche in Literature, and Why Is Sherlock Holmes Perfect for It?

What has made Sherlock Holmes so adaptable and changeable throughout the character’s original inception? Author Timothy Miller explains.

How to Write Through Grief and Find Creativity

How to Write Through Grief and Find Creativity

When author Diana Giovinazzo found herself caught in the storm of grief, doing what she loved felt insurmountable. Here, she shares how she worked through her grief to find her creativity again.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Our Brand-New Digital Guide, 6 WDU Courses, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce our new “Get Published in 2022” digital guide, six new WDU courses, and more!