Don’t Submit To Your Editor Too Soon (or Mistakes were made)

Mistakes Were Made

I made a mistake. I admit it.

Nothing Earth shattering, mind you. Just something that has slowed my own process.

What was it you ask? I submitted my draft of Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie Masters too soon. My editor was eager to see it (who can blame him) and I sent it before I’d had any chance to fix the problems I knew were there.

Why is that a Mistake?

I wrote SotA: ZM fast. Maybe faster than usual. Because I forced myself to write every day to meet my self-imposed deadline, I had some sections that were less than stellar. They weren’t completely thought out or they were filler to my thought process.

That being the case, there are plot holes in the manuscript. They were actually holes I was aware of that I made mental note of that I would fix in edits. Except, I didn’t do those edits before I sent the manuscript off.

What I got back was a list of issues with the story that I knew about. That’s good. It confirms that I’m self-aware enough to know what the problems are to begin fixing them before sending the story off. What’s bad is it took my brain completely away from the story and put additional time in where I should have been getting back to edits. In other words, it delayed the editing process.

I knew it was being looked at so I moved onto finishing another story. That pulled me further away from the story. Now, I’m having extra difficulty getting back into it.

I’m also far enough removed from the story that I have to completely reread it to remember all the plot holes I had originally noted (along with what I wanted to do to fix them).

All-in-all, my ability to edit the story thoroughly catching those problems has been severely delayed (yes, there’s that word again). Fortunately, I gave myself enough runway that I should be able to get it finished in time, but still…it should already be much further ahead in the process.

What Will I Do Differently Next Time?

Next time? Next time I will hold onto the manuscript after I’ve finished the first draft and do those edits before it will ever see an editor. I think it should achieve a certain level of polish before being released to the world. I was simply too eager this time (it is the final book of the trilogy, after all).

How Am I Dealing with the Mistake Now?

The problem exists. I can’t avoid it. So, I’m hunkering down and rereading everything, taking the editorial comments into consideration and revisiting my own personal thoughts on the story. In other words, I’m giving it the focus it should have had months ago.

I’m making good progress too. I’m at the 2/3 point of this editorial pass. I’ve cut most of a junk chapter and written a brand new one. I will also be layering on additional pieces in a second pass that will immediately follow this one. Only after that pass is complete will my editor see it again.

Then we will be back on track. A bit delayed perhaps, but on track nonetheless.



  1. That’s crazy talk, Mr. Editor. Editors are worth their weight in gold. Authors need to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away and when to run (to poorly quote Kenny Rogers).


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