The Worlds of R. A. Hortz
Don't Sabotage Your Submission
|Don't Sabotage Your Submission
By Chris Roerden
Insider Information from a Career Manuscript Editor to Save Your Manuscript from Turning Up D.O.A.
By Chris Roerden
Bella Rosa Books, Rock Hill, SC: 2008
Reviewed by Harry S. Chou - November 9, 2012
Getting a book or story published nowadays can be a daunting task. Even if you are the best writer in the world, you will not get a publisher to publish your work unless you can first get the publisher to read your opus. All too often writers sabotage themselves, often without evening knowing that they are doing it. In Don't Sabotage Your Submission, Chris Roerden tells you how to get your manuscript noticed, and what you might be doing that is causing it to be rejected before it is even read, or just as bad, after the editor has read only the first line or two!
Roerden has spent a large portion of her career working in the book publishing industry. She's worked as a manuscript editor, she's a published author, and she's been a workshop leader. Several years ago she wrote the award-winning book, Don't Murder Your Mystery. Her new book, Don't Sabotage Your Submission is really more of a revision of the older book. It has been updated and expanded to make the information it contains applicable to authors in all genres. It is also an award winning book in its own right.
This is not a book about manuscript format or writing cover letters, although standard manuscript formatting is briefly covered. Rather, this book is about revision and the editing process. Roerden walks you through the process of taking a hard, and sometimes painful look at your manuscript and pointing out all the potential weakness and flaws in your story. But don't give up hope. Roerden offers solid, practical advice on how to overcome the weakness in your story and to remove any flaws that might impede your story's marketability. As an added bonus, following Roerden's advice will also help you to craft a more powerful and compelling story.
In short, Don't Sabotage Your Submission serves as a do-it-yourself book doctor. Roerden points out the possible problems that might sabotage your story, and offers suggestions on how to fix them. However, the onus of doing the actual 'book doctoring' falls upon you, rather than upon a hired doctor. While this will take more of an effort on your part, it is also excellent training for novice writers as well as for those who are having trouble getting their work published - but don't know why.
The information in this book is also of value to writers of all levels because Roerden not only provides details on how to strengthen your manuscript but she also provides insider information on what editors, agents, and publishers are looking for in a manuscript. More important, she also outlines the various 'problems' that might cause your manuscript to be rejected without a reading - some of which have nothing to do with the actual manuscript but rather in how it is presented.
Written in a clear and easy to understand style, Don't Sabotage Your Submission is an essential guide for anyone ready and willing to undertake a major revision of their work, if they find that it is needed. This is also an essential guide that will help writers hone their craft. Best of all, Roerden doesn't simply say, "Do this, don't do that." Rather she points out things that you should not do and explains why you should not do it, and she offers tips on how to correct the problem. She also points out steps that you should take, and again she explains why and provides insightful examples that will enable you to quickly learn the techniques that she is teaching in this book.
>From beginning to end, Don't Sabotage Your Submission is chock full of information and it is a must-have for all writers' just starting out, as well as for those looking for tips on revision and self-editing.