"Working on a story. Am determined to get it submission-ready!"
So read a post I "tweeted" on Monday. Lo and behold, somebody actually read what I wrote. And she wrote, in turn:
"@erikadreifus what does submission-ready mean to you?"
What an excellent question. Not just for me, but for all of us practicing writers.
My response on Twitter basically said that I couldn't possibly address the question in 140 characters. I promised to do so here, instead.
So here's what I think "submission-ready" means to me: I think it means that I've brought the work in question to a point where I can't envision further edits/changes/improvements. At least, not imminently. And I believe that an editor/agent/publisher will read past the first few lines/pages and take the work seriously.
Now, it does happen that I submit a story or essay or poem (or novel or short story collection), receive a series of rejections (the best ones provide some constructive comments/feedback), and am then prompted to revisit the work. I might ask others who haven't yet shared their time and insights to read and comment, too. Although I won't necessarily withdraw the work from any journal/contest/agent/publisher where it might still be waiting to be read/decided on, I'll refrain from submitting it anywhere else until I've had time to consider changes and, more often than not, revise further. In this sense, "submission-ready" is not a constant. It evolves. Because, unfortunately, what I might consider initially "submission-ready" may not necessarily be "acceptance-ready"! In fact, the story that sparked my tweet is one I believed "submission-ready" quite awhile ago, but am revising once again.
I'm eager to hear from others on this. What does "submission-ready" mean to you?