So you’ve written your book, had your friends do some beta reading, and you’re about to send it to a pro to do a line edit.

You’re done, right?

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Ahem…no.

Editing takes forever. Even after a full round of editing, as we discussed in the post about Finding Editors, your book may not be publication-worthy. You may need to edit again.

And again.

And again.

My current novel went through about eighteen rewrites before I even showed it to another person. It’s going to go through another rewrite or two now that I have some editor feedback. When you’re in the middle of this process (getting criticism on one thing, fixing it, getting criticism on another, fixing it, ad nauseam) it can feel like it will go on forever. You may be tempted to give up.

Don’t give up.

Editing a book is like an oyster making a pearl. The story is a grain of sand, and it irritates you, so you keep massaging it, over and over, until it turns into something beautiful. It can take years. If you truly want your story to be the best it can be, you’ll give it that time and attention. The more times you go through this process, the quicker you will be able to do it.

So when is enough enough? When do you know when you’ve done enough editing? When is your book perfect?

No book will ever be perfect. It’s up to you to decide when it’s close enough to your vision to send out into the world. Editors exist to help you along that process and to guide you in making that decision, but ultimately the choice is yours. Seek guidance, listen to those more experienced than you, and when you’re ready, declare the book done.

Next week we’ll discuss publishing options. You may not be ready for them yet. You may not be ready for them for quite a while. But if publication is your goal, keep doing the work to get there. It’ll be worth it.

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