Wait before you hit send. Are those revisions really ready?

Everyone has a busy desk and clearing things off is such a great feeling. But, be wary of hitting send on that email too fast! Is your material really ready to go out?

Whether it’s submissions, revisions, a query letter or sample material be careful you are truly ready to send it out. While everything can always use another read and you never want to be too cautious, it’s much more common that writers send things far too quickly. Often occurrence: hitting send too fast on revisions.

Are you ready to hit send?
  • When edit notes come in make sure you take lots of time to think through them. Edit notes are not usually set in stone so think about what works best for the manuscript. Jumping into editing before you’ve had a chance to think about the consequences for all characters can lead to swiss cheese motivation.
  • Sometimes the ‘answer’ comes after deep thought, not rushing to get words on the page.
  • Remember the butterfly effect: anything you change will have consequences to scenes around it.
  • Was the manuscript revised with a deep purpose for the characters and/or plot or are you trying to superficially satisfy another reader? Convincing revisions come from deep within and believing that the edits will make the work better.
  • Have you done a developmental and structural editing checklist?
  • Do you know which passages to cut?
  • Did you start your novel in the right place?
  • Learn from your edit letter and edit notes. Those industry standard terms, punctuation, and tips are going to help you for manuscripts to come.
  • Be careful not to interrupt the flow of your existing pages with new edits. Sink into that voice and take yourself back to when you wrote the original pages and find that initial inspiration.

If you finish revisions at night, sometimes it’s better to wait to send until the morning…

Q: Have you ever hit send and thought, “I should have waited”? 

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Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

11 thoughts on “Wait before you hit send. Are those revisions really ready?

  1. Great advice. This is so important, and I’ve been guilty of sending too quickly because I started to feel impatient (that’s when I should go for a run first!). Actually, I sent out a few queries one evening, before my synopsis was polished. The next morning I received a request for my full mss…plus the one-page synopsis. I scrambled to get it polished, but that’s not something you should ever rush. Lesson learned.


      1. Thank you : ) It was absolutely the best way to start the day, but my stomach dropped when I realized I had to polish the synopsis with my 4-year-old hanging off me! Will never send a query out again without having everything ready to go.


  2. Yes, I’ve hit the send button too quickly. Unfortunately, new writers don’t often know they aren’t ready. Everything they do is a milestone and awesome, when in reality it still needs polish. It was something I had to learn the hard way, and I’m glad I did. Now I can help others by sharing those experiences.

    Great advice and a great post.


  3. For me it’s about balance. I don’t want to send things off before they are truly ready, but I can also fall into the trap of waiting too long, editing too much, and over thinking everything. Sometimes I have to force myself to send things off before I start doing more harm then good.


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