Eventually, you have to stop tinkering…

abstract art circle clockwork

If you intend to publish your work (traditionally or self-publish). Sooner or later you have to say enough is enough. There will always be one more thing you could change, one last pass to clean up some issue (real or imagined). “We live in an imperfect world… words fall out”, to paraphrase an old high school vice principal.

You can only edit, revise, or strive for perfection for so long. A day must come when you set aside the work that has consumed your every waking moment, or moments of clarity, or odd moments that you found to write. That doesn’t mean you’ll never edit it again. Only that you’ll wait for an editor’s mark up, or the swift passage of time to take another swing at it.

In the mean time, you have a whole other set of tasks ahead of you. For traditional publishing, that means querying. Finding an agent who can champion your work through the traditional publishing route. For self publishing, you have a dozen hats to try on as you thread your way to a finished copy of your book (E-book, POD, and audio-books too). Both paths take work above and beyond writing the book you just finished.

I’ve taken both paths, they both require commitment and learning new skills. You have to decide which one fits your situation better. There is no one size fits all answer, and that ignores the hybrid publishing path entirely. You can get help with what you need (professional editing, marketing, distribution, etc.), but retain more control like many self published authors crave.

For all these scenarios, you still have to have a completed and polished manuscript. Preferably it’s also had other eyes on it (not just aunt sally who taught 8th grade English before she retired). Beta readers who offered honest opinions, and maybe fellow writer critiques with constructive feedback would help. The more heavy lifting you do to begin with, should mean less once you’re ready to publish.

Leave a Reply