Does My Novel Have to be Perfect?

Yes!!!!!! Especially if this is your first book.  If you’ve already written a best seller, your agent and editor may cut you some slack. If not, that book better be pretty close to perfect, or nobody is going to look at it.  I know you’ve heard this before if you’ve done any type of research, but agents receive hundreds and sometimes thousands of queries a week. They don’t have time to read everyone.  If your manuscript is full of grammatical and structural errors, that’s all the excuse they need to toss it to the side and move on to the next one.

I sent my first manuscript out to five different agents.  I was very excited and a little anxious to hear what they had to say.  I expected some rejections, but not all.  I had put over a year into that novel.  It was my baby. Well, two didn’t respond at all, one said no thanks, and another said it wasn’t what they were looking for. The fifth one responded with a rejection, but also included a why. While she thought I had a really good premise, there were numerous grammatical and structural errors and the dialogue dragged. In short, she said it wasn’t ready for publication.

I was disappointed, but I did take her advice to heart and began the process of editing and correcting structural and grammatical errors, as well as addressing the dragging dialogue. I never really thought about dialogue moving a story before, but I see it now and have a pretty good understanding of what the agent was trying to say.

Truth be known, I was ashamed of myself for sending such poor work to an agent.  I never realized how bad it was until I began the arduous process of making corrections. I definitely didn’t make a good first impression.

-Jan R

Does My Novel Have to be Perfect?

2 thoughts on “Does My Novel Have to be Perfect?

  1. I want to get into the mindset of writing and enjoying it without being too harsh on myself. This is a good mindset to have about your work, seeing room for improvement and working on it. Well done, you will make a better impression next time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, yes, your work should be as strong as possible, and when it comes to grammar and spelling those errors should be eliminated, but as far as plot structure and other more amorphous story elements, those are far too subjective for a book to ever be “perfect.”

    Liked by 2 people

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