You’ve been working on a novel for weeks, months, years, you have been querying for what seems like ages, or your agent has been submitting your work for pushing a year or 18 months.
You’ve tinkered with revisions based on feedback.
But how do you know when it’s time to do a major revision, or whether it’s time to put it in the drawer? (If you have an agent this is a conversation to be having with them.)
It’s easy to get attached to your work, you’ve gestated the project and watched it grow. However, at some point if the manuscript isn’t grabbing hold of readers you have to make a decision. Here are some helpful tips…
When to revise:
- The topic/theme/genre is still relevant and editors are actively acquiring in that space
- The characters are still speaking to you and you feel constantly drawn back to it (also a sign that the work might not have been fully realized)
- The industry feedback you are getting is supportive and suggesting revisions that are moving in the right direction
- You agree with the feedback you are receiving
There are some realities in publishing that are tough right now…
Original trade paper is now the way to go with many debuts. Hardcover is a tough sell and no one wants to be placing their authors out of the market.
The traditional approach (hardcover release followed by paperback a year later) is now an exception, not the standard rule.
I know it’s hard for many authors to get their heads around the idea that they won’t be published in hardcover, but I frame it as something that has to be earned and worked up to right now.
If a project is not amazing, editors aren’t buying. Editors see a lot of good things they might have bought 10 years ago, but right now books need to be remarkable to stand out in acquisition meetings and on bookshelves. That’s why agents are also extremely picky; we know how hard it is out there. Continue reading The hard truths of publishing right now