What's the biggest writing / querying / publishing mistake you've made?
Well, the most embarrassing might be the time I introduced myself to agent Jill Corcoran in an elevator at SCBWI LA... while eating a quesadilla. Like a sandwich. For breakfast.
I had to switch hands really quickly so I could shake hers. Because I am classy.
But my biggest straight-up mistake? It happened during querying. This is a screenshot of the manuscript I sent to agents.
Do you see it? Look more closely. No, it's not the profanity, and it's not the panties.
Yep. I sent my fulls with "third draft" loud and proud in the header.
Here's a hint: Agents really don't want your drafts. They want your finished, polished, shiny product. And I didn't realize it was there until I saw "Put title on header justified all the way into the top right hand corner, taking out the draft number you currently have there" in the edit letter from my lovely agent Michelle.
This is word for word what I sent back: "Oh my god-- did I really send all my fulls with a draft number in the header?? aughghgh. FAIL." I wanted to email every single agent I had queried and tell them I wasn't an idiot and I really did revise more than three times, I just forgot to change the header and ...
I'm a little high strung. Poor Michelle. But she assured me that if they love something, "agents *do*not*care* about formatting snafus!!" And then distracted me with something else.
The moral of this story: Proofread EVERYTHING. Even your header. But if it's too late to fix? Don't stress.
Also, sign with someone willing to put up with your, um, quirks. And don't eat breakfast in conference elevators.
Want to read more embarrassing stories?
Head over to YA Highway, check out the comments on today's post, and leave a link to your own!