You’re almost ready to self-publish your book. You’ve written, revised, and touched up the manuscript. But if you’re like most writers, it’s hard to know when to stop tinkering and move on to the next step. If you worry too much about getting it exactly right, you might not get anywhere. So how do you know when it’s time to move forward?
5 Steps To Help You Stop Revising And Self-Publish Your Book
1. Take a step back and give it time. Once you’ve completed the first draft of your manuscript, set it aside and focus on something else. Take up a new hobby you’ve been interested in, spend time outside, or pick up a new book you’ve been meaning to start. After you feel enough time has passed, take a look at your manuscript with fresh eyes. Do you feel better about it now? Are there still passages that you think could be improved upon?
2. Take a look at the big picture. When you’re ready to take another look at your manuscript, read straight through without revising. Focus instead on the story you’re trying to tell—from beginning to end—and don’t concern yourself with the details of editing. Only after you’ve read the entire manuscript should you go back to the passages you feel could use a rewrite.
3. Use a “less is more” approach when revising. You certainly want your work to be meticulously proofread before you send it out into the world. Obvious grammatical and spelling errors will immediately turn off readers and lead to bad word-of-mouth about your book. But if you overdo it with revisions, you could risk ruining a great story by adding or taking away too much. When in doubt—the best course of action is to let it be.
4. Ask for feedback. If you’re still unsure about whether or not your book is ready to be self-published, get a second opinion. Ask your friends, writing group, or mentor to give you honest feedback about the manuscript. If the overall consensus is that your writing is in good shape, then you’re ready to self-publish!
5. Let it go. Take a deep breath, release all of your insecurities, and look forward to tackling the responsibilities associated with self-publishing your book. Don’t let “what ifs” hold you back if everything else indicates it’s time to move forward.
While every writer wants to improve his or her work, it’s important to know that absolute perfection is unattainable—so attempting it will only leave you frustrated. Focus instead on getting your manuscript in the best shape possible, using the steps listed above as a guide. Then take the next step and self-publish!
QUESTION: Which step do you think is most useful for authors who can’t get past the revision stage?
The step I swear by is #1. After I finish writing my book, I ALWAYS physically leave it alone for a week or two while I write flash fiction or a book of short stories. However, during that time if an idea pops into my head about the resting story, I will write it on a note card and put it in the folder designated for that particular novella.
When the allotted time is up, it does feel like I have a pair of ‘fresh eyes’ when I go back to it – I find I am also enthusiastic about rewriting and editing it. I do this at twice more after the initial downtime before I feel ready to self publish.
It takes me a while. *laughs*