Thursday, September 08, 2011

"The Rules": A 12-Step Process for Submitting Copy for a Professional Edit or Critique

Confused about the process for garnering a professional edit or critique of your Magnum Opus? Fear not, intrepid writer! It's a simple 12-Step process. Here are The Rules:

1. Write something you love.
I have CREATED! I'm as happy as a pig in a puddle!
2. Polish it till it shines so brightly you can see your face in it.

3. Research the websites, magazines, publishers, or agents that want the sort of thing you write.

There's a great big world out there just waiting for me. I must discover where I fit into it.
4. Study what they're producing / printing / representing.

5. Screw up your courage.
(Alcohol in moderate quantities may be imbibed for crucial courage screwing.)
 Relentless optimism is a bonus.
6. Choose from three to five websites, magazines, publishers, or agents to approach. Commit to submitting your Bright Shiny Object (BSO) to these entities.

7. Give your BSO first to a kind but discerning Beta reader. Request honest feedback & comments.

Tell me what you really thought. Go on. Say it. I can take it.
8. When criticism comes (and it will), do not overreact. Do Not Cry. Do not quit.

9.  Take feedback & comments into consideration. Revisit your Bright Shiny Object. Buff it till it gleams.

10. Send the professional editor or kind critiquer the portions of your BSO you wish edited & critiqued. (No viruses or other computer nasties, please.)

11. Repeat Step 9. Then send BSO query to entities chosen in Step 6.

Run like the wind! I hereby unleash you upon the world!
 12. While waiting for news, begin again at Step 1 with new project...

Did I miss anything? Let me know! Weigh in with your own process in the comments.

All photos from


Anonymous said...

Using Piggies instead of kitties this round? Your posts are always entertaining to say the least.

Ami Hendrickson said...


"This little piggy..." ;) The cat theme of a few former posts was totally unintentional. Cats just happened to be the spokesanimals for what I was talking about. There was a memorable cow post, as I recall. But this time, PIGS FTW!

Thanks for the comment. Hope the porkers & I made you smile.

R.L. Naquin said...

Which step includes the weeping and gnashing of teeth? Is it the same as the self-flagellation step, or is that separate?n - Rachel

Ami Hendrickson said...

Ah, R.L.,

For many writers, *every* step involves the weeping & tooth-gnashing. Also (I understand) for many, every step involves the application of courage-screwing alcohol, as mentioned in Step 5.

Personally, I'm a big advocate of less weeping and more writing. :)

Karen S. Elliott said...

Great post! From a pork-chop-making proofreader ... Thanks for #8 and #9. Love all the piggy pics, too. This was a fun read.

Ami Hendrickson said...

Thanks for your kind words. I'm currently gearing up for #7. Which means I'll need to psych myself up for the inevitable criticism that accompanies #8. That which does not kill us makes us stronger, right? :)