How to Know When to Submit Your Manuscripts to Agents and Publishers

Q: If the quality of each work is relatively equal, how is a writer to know the difference between the work that is suitable for submission and those that should be left for another time due to its personal or emotional nature? -Matthew

If the work is truly equal, I don’t know why you shouldn’t send it out into the world, even if it’s something very close to you. That closeness might make it the best thing you’ve ever done. But if that closeness has compromised it in some way, then yes, that’s something you might want to hold onto, to give yourself a chance to see it at some distance sometime in the future.

How do you know the difference? You really can’t, not on your own.

You need someone you can trust to tell you. I hope you already have someone like that, somebody who is reading your stuff and letting you know if it works. If it’s not, I hope that person respects you enough to hand it back to you in shreds. If I didn’t have somebody doing that for me, I’d be lost.

Steve Hamilton, Author of the Alex McKnight Novels
Winner of the Edgar and Shamus Awards for Best First Novel