I represent a talented horde of non-fiction writers. Sentence stylists, concept connoisseurs, all around terrific writers. Proposal architects, not so much. Which is ok, cause that's the value I bring to the table for them right now.
Yesterday I was working on the very last edits of a terrific proposal. I actually titled it The Final Version.
So the great god of writing laughed, and that was that.
What happened was my client and I had been intently focused on the sentences and sections. We'd probably spent a full ten hours on various subtitle permutations. We'd moved footnotes, excised repeated phrases, tussled with that evergreen question: why this book, why now.
And all those pieces were ready. I have my editor list primed. The pitch letter is as ready as it will ever be (which means I'll have at least a dozen revisions between now and when it goes out.)
Then I read the whole proposal, start to finish, all 72 pages.
And realized Something Was Wrong.
Fortunately I knew what it was pretty quickly, and was able to email my client promptly. (Subject line: you're going to kill me and I deserve it.)
What had happened of course was that the pieces worked by themselves, but they also have to work as a whole.
I think of it in terms of painting (cause painting explains the world, as you know.) The color that looks great in the store, looked great in the test stripe, looked GREAT when you painted it in your west-facing bedroom on Saturday afternoon, and now, dried and from a distance, looks like the Duchess of Yowl projectile vomited on the walls. (Not that Her Grace would do that of course, that's what your slippers are for.)
And when you realize the color looks like cat hork, you have two choices: fix it or live with it.
Same with the revising. Fix it or live with it.
It's not always an easy choice.
We chose to fix it. We had time on our side, the proposal is in development. If it were a finished book on editorial deadline, we might not have had that.
I'm yammering about this today because I always seem to forget that last read through might NOT be just for crossing eyes and dotting t-shirts (paint again!)
I always forget to build that 'oh crap what if we need to revise this again' time into my planning, and plotting of world domination.
Maybe you do forget too?
Or maybe you don't read the whole thing one more time before sending it out to a request for a full?
Do you build this buffer into your timeline? Do you plan for it? You do revise, right?