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Writing Books/When am I ready to present to a publisher?


Hello, I have discovered, rather late in life, that I can write and did write a science fiction novel. It needs a lot of work, but how will I know when it is ready to present to a publisher?

Hello Elizabeth:

Congratulations on the discovery of new talent! As your skills grow, you will enjoy writing even more!

An author is ready to present to a publisher after she has found an agent to represent her. In approaching an agent, an author needs to present a MS that is free from basic errors, such as spelling, grammar, word usage, etc., that is written to the absolute best of her ability, and has been professionally edited.

The reason a professional editor is required is that unless you have published several successful books in the past, it is likely you cannot/should not, self-edit your material. It generally takes years of study and practice for a writer to get to the point where she can effectively edit her own material.

Depending on how much work your MS needs, before you are ready for a final edit, you may need a coach to help make sure it represents your best work. A coach can spot inconsistencies (the heroine's eyes are blue on page 5, and green on page 75), help you fix the structure if it is faulty, tell you where you should cut and where you should add material, and much, much more.

The world is full of editors and coaches who will offer to help you, but how can you tell whether they are any good or not? If you will check the responses I have received to my answers on this site, you will see that I have helped many people with their writing projects. Also, please visit my website,, and check out my mentoring program.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high scores over 1900+ questions.

And good luck with your writing!

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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