High five! I just sent my picture book manuscript off and I am now celebrating by going through my post submission process. 

What is a post submission process you ask with an arching eyebrow. Well, it’s a process my friend encouraged me to use a while ago after a job interview. It goes something like this:

  1. When you get back to your car or home after an interview, or in this case, once you finish your happy dance for sending off a submission…take a few minutes to evaluate how it went.
  2. Pull out your old query letters. Do they match up or did this one blow them out of the water? How many drafts did you complete? 
  3. Ask yourself what you did well this time. What did you learn? What would you do better next time? Are you happy with the progress you have been making? What are you going to do better next time? Because let’s face it, there will be many more submissions – many next times.

If we’re lucky, we’ll get feedback from editors, but most of the time they receive so many submissions we are left alone with our self doubt and nawed fingernails. So I use this process to learn from my writing.

Looking back to my first submission, I’ve learned a lot.

When I sent out my very first manuscript a few years ago, I made the fatal error of shotgun blasting it across the literature landscape to of course, no avail. I made many other mistakes as well, but not doing my research sits at the top of the list.

Now, I can see that research shine through in my query letters. In fact, I now spend months researching publishers, editors, other picture books, agents, etc. And I chalk this up to patience. Some times I get so excited about a writing project, I just can’t wait to send it out the door. I’ve learned to control that urge now, giving my work another few days or weeks or months to percolate. Slow and steady has been a big lesson for sure. Now, I don’t feel the urge to check my email every thirty seconds after I send something out. I can sit back and know that what I sent out is something I put 100 percent into. It is the best work I have done to date.

How about you? Do you have a post submission process? I’d love to hear it.