One of the toughest things independent writers face is knowing just when to hit ‘publish’. Without the production team of a publishing house to rely on, self-publishers must depend on their own judgement to determine if their novel is reader ready. And with the ability to reach the market directly, the temptation to rush the product through the door has never been stronger — or easier.
So how do you know when your book is good enough?
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that once your work is out there, it’s there forever. Every book is an opportunity to expand your readership, and releasing something sub-par is harmful in the long-term. When I feel myself getting lazy, I head to Amazon and read nasty reviews. Talk about a kick in the pants!
However, short of gorging on negativity, there are plenty of steps can you take to make your novel the best it can be.
- Read it backwards. By the time I reach the end of a draft, I can feel my motivation waning. Starting at the final scene ensures the ending gets the same care and attention as the beginning.
- Have your Kindle/ e-reader read it aloud. This helps you uncover awkward sentences and typos.
- Read it aloud yourself. I find this really helps cadence and sentence flow.
- Use beta readers familiar with your genre and whose feedback you trust. We all want to be told we’re the next great novelist, but that’s not helpful for making your work stronger.
- Use editing software like Autocrit.com to help you uncover clichés, reduce adverbs, and uncover other grammatical issues.
- Hire an editor. If a content editor costs too much, you might want to consider investing in a copy editor. Nothing says unprofessional like poor grammar and copious typos.
How do you make sure your work is good enough?