Let’s face it – as writers we will never be fully satisfied with a manuscript. It just isn’t in our blood. We want to review each phrase, sentence, and paragraph to ensure every single word is a perfect match for what we are trying to express. At some point, however, we need to stop editing and re-editing and publish our work. If you’re a self-published author, it can be difficult to know exactly when you are ready to publish that book. There are only self-imposed deadlines with which to contend after all. So, how do you know when you are done with editing (and ready to publish your book)?
Although my husband would vehemently disagree, I’m not a perfectionist. I know I’m only human and my novel will always have errors. I’m not perfect, so why should my books be? BUT I want each of my novels to be as close to perfect as possible. But like all authors, I sometimes have a ‘difficult’ time stopping editing and polishing off my manuscript for publishing. I’ve come up with some tips and tricks that will help you figure out when you should stop dawdling and push publish already!
First of all, here’s how you know it’s NOT time to publish. If you’ve printed out the manuscript and your notes look like this:
You Are Not Ready To Publish!
Tips to know when you are done editing:
- When you’ve whittled your ‘crutch’ words down to less than 25 occurrences per word in a 200-page manuscript, you’re getting close to being ready to publish;
- If you’ve run out of the mountain of chocolate, snacks, wine, and beer you stocked the house with to survive your editing binge, you’re definitely getting close to finishing;
- When Microsoft spellcheck says you have no errors in your document, you’re probably ready (it’s expected that you shout for joy when that complete box pops up);
- If you’ve printed out the manuscript (and you should!) and your only make one or two improvements per page (not corrections!), you’re nearly ready;
- If you are reciting the words from memory while editing instead of actually reading them, you’re pretty much ready;
- If your husband is starting to think you’re turning into a vampire due to your pale skin as you haven’t seen the light of day in a very long time, you are really, really close to being ready;
- If the thought of reading your novel one more time makes you want to puke, you’re as ready as you’re ever going to be. Might as well publish that baby and find out how exposing your work to the world can really make you puke.