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I hear from writers about their struggles all the live long day. Many problems (doubt, procrastination, perfectionism) have the same solution—it takes time, patience and practice to improve your craft. However, there’s one common writing mistake that gives me chills every time because it’s harder to help.

Don’t Let This Common Writing Mistake Ruin You

Do not send out your work before it’s ready.

This might mean self-publishing on Amazon too soon, or maybe querying agents or editors with sample chapters before your manuscript is ready; or worse, even completed. The price such overzealous writers pay for rushing to the next step is costly. You don’t want your career over before it even begins.

Why Writers Make This Common Writing Mistake

Whether you’re on the traditional route, or plan to self-publish, QUALITY counts for everything: the writing, to the plot, the entertainment value, the book cover—it must all be your best.

The problem is, too many writers sacrifice quality in exchange for speed (they’re DYING for the magic to happen NOW because the work took years), or maybe quantity (since you need multiple books available to make a living as an author, they’re cranking out volumes like a factory assembly line).

Why This Writing Mistake Will Ruin Your Publishing Chances

Your dream agent or editor will not understand…Wait! Eleven months from now, my novel will really be ready, I just wanted your thoughts today.

Unfortunately, you only get one chance. Once they’ve said “no” to your manuscript once, 99.9 percent of the time means “no” for the future of your book’s life, maybe the future of your writing career.

Some of you will read this and think, Oh! My work is that magical .01% . That silly rule doesn’t apply to me.

No, it’s not and yes, it does.

This Writing Mistake Applies to Self-Publishing Too

Reviewers on Goodreads won’t be forgiving if you’ve basically published the first draft of your novel and its weaknesses are obvious (even if your mom loves your story).

The days of slapping any sort of Once Upon a Time up on the Internet and making a buck are long gone.

Quality is king.

If you lose your dream agent or editor, there are still countless other well-respected professionals out there. But, if you self-publish a book which should’ve died on the slush pile, then your name is Mud.

It’s harder setback to overcome. Readers shy away from bad reviews. Word of mouth can make or break you.

I know authors who’ve made this mistake and pulled their self-published books. They hired developmental editors and reworded and reworked their entire content, then republished later to better success.

Others scrapped their book and started their careers over with a pseudonym. New name, fresh start.

Quality is a Habit

Before sending your work out (either querying, or self-publishing), remember to have different beta readers give your their opinions, then seriously consider implementing their suggestions.

Next, have your books professionally edited. Not just for misspellings, typos and grammar, but for content as well. You want your prose to flow, continuity in your plot and character development, as well as entertainment value.

If you’ve signed with an agent or editor, you’ll do this important work with them, but if you’re self-publishing, you should pay for the extra assistance.

Is Overcoming This Writing Mistake Easy?

No, but it’s an investment in your career over the long term. You’re trying to stand out among the millions of other books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc.

You have one chance to make a good first impression, make the most of it.

What do you think the consequences are for sending out your work too soon? Let us know in the comments section.


Today, focus on the terrible woes that happen to a writer who sends his/her work out too soon. Make it BIG. Make it HORRIBLE. Scare us to death, so we learn from his/her mistakes. Have fun with this!

Take fifteen minutes to tell this story, then please share in the comments. Remember, if you post a practice, please comment on your fellow writers’ work.

Marcy McKay
Marcy McKay
Marcy McKay is the “Energizer Bunny of Writers.” She believes writing is delicious and messy and hard and important. If you’ve ever struggled with your writing, you can download her totally FREE book, Writing Naked: One Writer Dares to Bare All. Find her on Facebook!
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