The take out experience started just like any other. We walked to the counter and placed our order. Fifteen minutes and a great discussion about cute boys later, we walked out with our sandwiches.
On the way home I was thinking about the tasty contents of my lunch. The smell wafted out from the bag tantalizing me to snack a bit on the way home, but I resisted. Boy am I glad I resisted.
When we reached home, I unwrapped my sandwich ready to dig in. I lifted the bun to check if they remembered to skip the onions. Yikes! On the inside was a hairball the size of a baseball. I kid you not. It just sat there glaring back at me.
Now, I check ALL of my sandwiches before I eat. It is merely an exercise in survival.
You wouldn’t put a hairball in your sandwich, so why should you put one in your book proposal and sample chapters? Oh, we have all done it at least once.
NEVER, EVER HIT SEND AT MIDNIGHT! Wait until morning when you are thinking straight and your eyes focus.
1. Is it Morning? If not wait for it…
2. Did you spell the agent’s name correctly?
3. Did you do a spelling and grammar check?
4. Did you do a Find and Replace search for words you use too often?
5. Did you read the agent’s submission guidelines?
6. Has somebody besides your mother critiqued this work?
7. Does the agent even represent what you write? Are they reputable?
8. Is your personal information correct? Is your name in the header on every page?
9. Did you attach the proposal and sample chapters to the email letter? (Don’t laugh, I’ve forgotten this.)
10. Do you have plenty of white space on each page? (A mixture of text and dialogue)
11. Did you have any -ly words in your submission? (Cut 99.9% of them)
12. Did you start with action?(Your character waking up does not count.)
13. Did you eliminate passive verbs and replace them with stronger ones?
14. Did you reread your proposal and sample chapters before hitting send?
15. Did you pray over your submission?
What other hairballs do you look for before submitting? What is the worst hairball you’ve submitted?