Calling Your Manuscript Finished (For Now)

I’m blogging over at Books & Such today. A preview:

frazzledHere is a typical email I receive from writers I’m considering for representation, or clients whose proposals are about to be sent to publishers:

Dear Rachelle, I’m SO sorry to bother you and I hope it’s not too late. I was looking over my manuscript and I found a typo on page 3. I left the “e” off the word “the” in the fourth line of the second paragraph. Additionally, I realized I began chapter 1 four inches down the page and I think it needs to be only three inches. May I send you an updated and revised manuscript?

Okay, I exaggerated this a tiny bit. But I have to smile every time I get one of these. Of course, making sure your manuscript is impeccable is a good thing. But you will drive yourself, your agent (and probably your spouse and kids) crazy stressing over every little typo! Editors and agents (having just a teeny bit of experience in this) are capable of evaluating a manuscript without being distracted by a few small mistakes.

Click over to the Books & Such blog for the full post.

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Friday Features #47 - YESENIA VARGAS on March 12, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    […] Calling Your Manuscript Finished (For Now) – Rachelle Gardner […]

  2. Victoria Taylor on March 9, 2013 at 12:45 AM

    Don’t you just love when this happens (in my sarcastic voice). What’s even worse is that the manuscript (flaws and all) was growing on you, was it not? But you better believe when you do get it back it will be something totally new. LOL! Why do this to you! I’m speaking open and honest because I’ve been there…we want it to be SUPERB. It’s like my lil boy who erases every other letter in his name because it’s not perfect. We worry about the little things…it’s tough enough to finish a book. It’s like witnessing one sows another waters and God gives the increase. Thanks for this! Now I can finally attach my file and hit the send button.

  3. EnnisP on March 9, 2013 at 12:39 AM

    This was a very helpful post! It’s encouraging to know my obsessions aren’t unique to me.

  4. David Busher on March 8, 2013 at 10:46 AM


    My name is David Busher form Dublin Ireland. I had no formal education till I graduated college at the age of forty in 2005. I have moderate to severe dyslexia. As a child I was bullied by my class mates because I couldn’t read. My clothes were tatty and I came from a broken home brought on by the loss of my mother when I was a child. I was continually told by my school teachers that I was below average intelligence that I was lazy, and dismissed by them as a lost cause. This is the true story of a little boy who just wanted to learn to read and write like everyone else.

    The story begins at the funeral of the raggy boy’s mother when he is a grown man. The now grown man reflects on his life growing up in Dublin in the nineteen seventies and coping with neglect, poverty and a little known learning difficulty called dyslexia. When the raggy boy was a child his
    mother suffered a brain haemorrhage and a stroke leaving her unable to raise her five children. The once proud suburban middle class family fell apart after the tragedy. This is the story of how the raggy boy overcame his setbacks in life and taught himself how to read and write and went on to graduate from college at the age of forty.

    By David Busher

    • EvieMcLaughlin on March 9, 2013 at 3:45 AM

      I love your synopsis and wish you all the best with what I assume is a submission process upon which you are about to embark. Navigate the rough waters with equilibrium 🙂

      • david busher on March 13, 2013 at 9:21 AM

        thank for your reply to my post. if you are not interested in contacting me about the book could i ask you to please take my post from your website. if you would like to read some of my book I’ll gladly send you the link
        thank you

        David Busher

        • Evie McLaughlin on March 15, 2013 at 5:02 PM

          Hi there
          I don’t have your post on my website?

          • david on March 16, 2013 at 6:31 AM

            i do apologies, sorry i clicked the wrong reply

    • david on March 16, 2013 at 6:33 AM

      thank for your reply to my post. could i ask you please, if you are not interested in contacting me about the book could i ask you to please take my post from your website.
      my email is on it and would like to take it down

      thank you

  5. Cherry Odelberg on March 8, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    Hehehe. That sounds so familiar.

  6. Robin Jean Marie on March 8, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    Wow, I thought that I was the only one who stressed over such things…glad to know I’m not alone.
    Great site, great post, Rachelle. Thank you for taking your time to educate us writers.

  7. Susan Foy on March 8, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    So glad to hear this! I’ve always wondered if those little mistakes are enough to get my manuscript thrown out, and I’m glad editors are able to overlook a little imperfection. 🙂

  8. Rebecca T. Dickinson on March 7, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    I appreciate your post so much. I edit my book and stories so many times that I will question myself. I would love an editor, but at this time cannot afford one. I know I drive my husband crazy when I over do it, and I know there’s not time to worry about it when my 2-two-year-old running around. Thank you!

  9. AM Lyvers on March 7, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Not sure what I like more from your posts, the sage advice or the accompanying pictures. Today’s photo is a real winner.