Take a Deep Breath . . . Now Hit "Send"

by Ann Marie Gamble


Take a deep breath.

You know when you're ready.

You've read copiously. You've studied your craft, you've picked apart the things you like. What makes them work? How did they do that?

Others have read your manuscript. Some of them have liked it. Some of them have had comments that left Bizarre and headed on down the road to Confusing--did they even read your manuscript?--and others have said things that resonate, that niggle at those bits that you slid over.

You've reworked some scenes. You changed a few things back--the first way was better, and you've tested that now. You've tightened up that bit you wrote waiting for the dentist.

There was a point when you were still having big ideas, you knew there were good things you could still do. But now you're suspicious that you're just churning words on the page. The critiques suggest directions that this story--your story--isn't meant to go.

It's time to submit.

Maybe you've reached a place of satisfaction, of calm, and yes it's nerve wracking to submit our work for the judgment of others, but it's time.

Maybe it's OMG OMG OMG close your eyes while you click "send," but you really don't know what else you would do to it. It's time. (Take a deep breath.)

You know when you're ready.


In my day job, I'm an editor. I love reading. I learned to read early and I did a lot of it; I left a trail of slack-jawed librarians behind me as a kid. Books, magazines, books on tape . . . a guy with words printed all over his jeans thought I was giving him the eye, not trying to see if the words made sentences. And now here I am: I get paid to read books.

When you hit "send" on that submission, it goes to--not exactly me, since I'm not in acquisitions, but someone like me. Someone who needs an extra suitcase for the books, or who reads all the pamphlets in the hotel nightstand drawer. Someone who gets a discount from their employer but has rewards cards at four different bookstores. I get paid to read books! And now I get to read a totally new thing. What will it be? What stamp will you put on it?

I have feelings about fonts and paper weights. I have favorite typos and autofills. I read grammar books for recreation. Now I get to read a real story--your story! Thank you for sending it.

Follow Susan Litman, Martha Mihalick, Megan Records, or Shana Smith (or me) on Twitter.
Read Allison Winn Scotch on not rushing mailing it to an agent.

Have you hit "send" on anything lately? What do you need to do to get ready?


  1. I love Allison Winn Scotch's "Ask Allison" posts! I've yet to reach the point of pressing "send", but it is my dream in life to make people not want to put my books down!


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