When you ask an author what the hardest part of publishing a story is, you will get a mixture of answers. Some say the rewriting and editing process is awful, some say the actual writing is the worst, some say the plotting. But one thing that all writers struggle with is making the final decision to publish their manuscript just as it is, releasing it into the world.
It’s a fine line to walk. On the one hand, you want to publish your best work for the world to read. On the other hand, it is possible to edit so much that it becomes more harmful to your manuscript than good. And sadly, it’s not gonna scream at you “hey, I’m ready to be published!!” There are some things you can look for, however, that can help you decide if your manuscript is ready.
One way you can know your manuscript is polished enough is when you can read through it without gagging (jk…kinda). I was actually surprised when, on the fifth or sixth draft of In Wildcat Hollow, I actually started enjoying reading my own story. Of course, it was nowhere near perfect, and I could’ve rewritten it a hundred more times before publishing. But realizing that I actually enjoyed reading my own writing was a key point of evidence that it was ready to be published.
One thing that helped ease my worry about publishing was knowing that I can always come back and rewrite it later. Of course, you probably don’t want to do that all the time so that your readers don’t have to keep purchasing the new version of your manuscript. But if, in a few years, you decide to rewrite your story, you could release a 2nd edition or a rare “limited edition” version. You can have fun with it. Nothing you publish has to be the permanent version of your story.
Setting yourself a deadline helps a whole lot. I set myself a deadline to publish by December (the earlier the better), and it really helped motivate me while I was editing. It also helped me make the final decision to publish because I knew that deadline was there, and I really wanted to hit it.
Lastly, I just want to leave you with this quote that really helped me when I was worried about publishing.
It is better to finish something, even if it isn’t perfect, than to become so obsessed with perfection that you never finish anything.Rigel Dawson
I hope this post helped you figure out where your manuscript is in regards to being ready to be published. If you have any other questions or need some more help, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get to it ASAP!
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