DANGER Do Not Go Beyond This Point

What does this sign have to do with authors? After all, our characters are more likely to fall off a cliff than we are. Right?

Maybe not. By the time a manuscript is in its final editing and polishing phase, we don’t just question our decisions. We obsess over them. From big picture elements such as character arc and plot points to smaller details like finding the 58th way to express a look.

Why do we obsess? The next step could be fatal. If a submission package is sent off in less than perfect condition, it might plummet to a premature demise at the bottom of an agent or editor’s slush pile.

Even if we set our WIP (Work in Progress) aside for a few weeks before the final pass, we are too close to our characters and our stories to see everything clearly. Until someone invents neon pop-up warning signs for writers, the “fresh eyes” of new beta readers or critique partners are essential to the survival of our manuscripts.

How do you find new readers for your work? What do you obsess about when you are polishing a manuscript for submission?

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