Last summer, a writer friend suggested I sign up for an edit slot with the excellent romance writer Laurie Sanders. I’d had dinner with Laurie once, after she spoke to my RWA chapter, and thought she had a lot of smarts where romance-writing is concerned, so I took that advice.
This week I got an email saying my 7000 word submission was due. Since I’m currently in the process of drafting two different books, it took me a day to decide what to submit. I chose to send the first 7K of The Demon’s Secret Baby, which will be the fourth in my Touched by a Demon series.
Then it was time to clean it up for submission, a process I liken to straightening your house in anticipation of your cleaning lady’s arrival. Back when I was working more-than-fulltime and had a cleaning lady, my husband used to scoff at my scurrying around, tidying everything before she arrived.
“Why do we need to impress our cleaning lady?” he’d ask.
“It’s not to impress her,” I’d respond.
Full disclosure–while it wasn’t to impress her, I really didn’t want the cleaning lady to know how messy we could be. The real reason I tidied up before she got there, though, was so she wouldn’t waste her time having to move stuff around to do her job.
Prepping a manuscript for submission to a paid editor is a lot like that. I want my submission to be as clean and error-free as I can make it so she doesn’t get distracted by or waste her time correcting grammar and punctuation and that bit of backstory that, for some reason, I felt the need to restate in three different places.
How about you? Do you clean for your cleaning lady (in whatever form that takes)?
My cleaning lady comes on Thursday, so I’m already thinking about what I have to do today and what I can put off until tomorrow to get ready for her. 🙂 And in fact, I think I spend more time in prep than the cleaning lady spends cleaning. But that’s another story.
I don’t have to spend much time prepping for manuscript submission, though. I edit as I go, so usually by the time I’m ready to submit something, I can just send it in. I wish my house were that orderly!
Since you’ve worked as an editor, it makes sense that you’d be able to self-edit as you write.
On the other hand, I’ve worked as a cleaning lady and I still need to spruce the place up before the cleaner arrives, so maybe that’s not the key.
I had to laugh at your “cleaning for the cleaning lady” since I recently had a variety of repairmen here at the house and I definitely did some tidying so they wouldn’t judge my mess (as if they were planning to).
As for editing, making sure your manuscript is the best it can be before sending it off to the editor makes good sense. As you say, you don’t want the editor distracted by finding the low-hanging-fruit of errors.
I just got my markup back from Laurie. She found a handful of typos and another handful of adverbs to cut but she commented multiple times that most of her comments were big picture stuff–exactly the opposite of what she usually returns to people.
I definitely clean before my cleaning lady arrives and for the same reason! I only get 3 hours-I want that to be for mopping and bathrooms, not picking up the magazines and remotes…