Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Not Yet Ready for Public Viewing

I came to work today barefoot. Wearing sweats. Sans makeup. (But I DID brush my teeth.) Becky suggested I post a picture of me in my home office. Not on your life! As excited as I am to show you my new "working arrangements," neither me nor my office are ready for public presentation today. One of these days soon, though, I'll give you a peek of my new work-a-day world. I might even manage to click a pic of the flock of sheep that graze outside my office window. The window will need to be washed first, though.

More often than you might imagine, I receive proposals that are not yet ready for public viewing. On numerous occasions, an author will send a "correction" e-mail with a revised attachment of their proposal. On a few occasions, an author has followed up their original submission with three or four corrected versions. Such communiques may portray the author's exuberance, but they don't do much to establish my confidence in their professionalism. I understand an author's excitment and eagerness to present, for the world to see, their latest demonstration of creative genius. However, don't let your enthusiasm override the need to present an error-free proposal--the first time around. Don't forget to spell-check. Ask a crit partner to look over the total package, including the cover e-mail, prior to hitting that SEND button. Even the best proof-readers have a hard time spotting errors in their own work. And allow some breathing time between completion of your proposal and firing the submission off to the editor.

One of these days, when I've got my home office all in order, I'll show off my digs. In the meantime, picture me HAPPY. SKD


Pam Hillman said...

Is my slip showing?

I still have the first query letter I sent to Karen Ball several years ago. Later, looking over my copy I discovered a typo.


How I wished I could recall the letter, but it was too late.

Now I check, double-check, and triple-check, and pray that nothing slips by me.

Pam Hillman said...

Oh...and I meant to say that errors do get by even then. Sigh.

Karen said...

Working from home, my greatest fear is that I'll lose track of time and forget that I haven't gotten dressed before someone like the postman comes to the door. Enjoy!!

Vickie said...

That's true about the postman. I can't tell you how many times I've seen the UPS guy pull up to my house and I've tossed down my laptop(gently, of course) and made a mad dash to throw on something other than my pjs. :)

I like using Natural Reader software to proof my manuscripts. You paste in your chapter and it reads it back to you out loud. I've caught errors that I've read past many times because they sound wrong when you hear them out loud. I love it.

NancyMehl said...

Another drawback to working at home is that friends and family think you're available for errands or social situations because "you're home." It's tough to establish boundaries - but well worth the effort. I love working from home!

I understand the comment about the UPS guy. Thankfully, mine's given up. He just leaves the package next to the door and takes off. I guess I've trained him well. (S)

Congrats, Susan! Can't wait to see your office space!


Crystal Laine Miller said...

I think it's great that you are now able to do the job at home, but still available to go to the office when needed.

It is so true that no matter how many times you look at something, you can still send it with mistakes. Argh. But what good advice not to fall for temptations to keep sending the editor "corrections." The great news is that a really good story can still trump a couple mistakes.

Did I ever tell you guys how much I love this blog? We talked about you Barbie Girls at our chapter meeting on Saturday. Good stuff.

Lynette Sowell said...

Yes, I have to make myself take a deep breath and a time-out before clicking send. I've caught typos--too late--right as I clicked the send button. I'd much rather wait overnight and 'waste' paper by having to reprint than rush and send something too quickly.

I love working at home. Most days I'm in a comfy T-shirt and capris or shorts. I don't work in PJs very often. On Thursday, the first day of summer vacation for the kids, I probably will stay in my jammies for a treat. (I know, I need to get out more.)

For the record, I found two glaring typos before I posted this. :)

Jessica said...

Excellent post! And so funny. I can't seem to stop editing my stuff. When I send it out I'll have to keep myself away from the keyboard, lol. But you're right. Generally speaking, it's not professional.

Jessica said...

Oh, I forgot you were working at home. Wasn't sure why you went to work dressed that way. :-) Now I know. Have a great day.

Inspire said...

Fun post. I love working from home. It's just that the pay is practically zero so far this year!

Mary Connealy said...

double checking everything reminds me of a contest I entered years ago.

I'd really learned to carefully follow each and every direction, reread the entry.
I was a finalist a lot of times so I must have gotten good at it.

So a contest entry was returned to me. I hadn't finalled and I was disappointed but well, ho hum, onward and upward.

I opened the entry looking for comments written on the manuscript and....the beginning of the story was messed up. Like I'd ... I don't know what ... cut and pasted some gobble-d-gook over top of the first half page. I think it was from the same book, not a recipe for Chicken Stir-fry or anything. But it made NO SENSE. It was not my tightly spun, intensely worked and reworked, fast paced, explosive beginning.
The poor judges.

So yes, try and get out of your bathrobe before the UPS guy, or some contest judge, sees you at your worst.