Friday, January 29, 2010

When is enough enough?

You've got yourself a first draft! W00T!!

You revise until you're happy. Or sick of it.

You give it to your beta readers - 1, 3, 9, however many. Get their comments back, pass out. Work up a way to address those things you like/do not like. Alcohol is optional.

You give it to your agent. Who reads and thinks and ponders and thinks and gets you notes back. You work up a way to address those things. Give it back, rinse/repeat until they are happy.

You go out on sub. Finally! Getting yesses, getting hms, getting no ways, getting a peculiar thing called a "no contract-exclusive revision" request. (Which is happening more and more nowadays, I hear). You think and talk with your agent: is this it? Should we revise for this publisher? Your agent should know the places they are subbing to and be able to give you a good indication of whether you should. But normally, most writers are gonna revise. 'Cause it's a step closer, man!

You revise. Hoo-ah! But whoops, not all of it is straight. (I've read some stories on the internet of writers doing 4-5 passes on a MS BEFORE acquisitions lately. Um, yikes!) So you go back to the board with those things they want changed and you change them.

Beta. Agent. Rinse and repeat.

You give it to the pub. Now you've got a 50/50 chance. Do they take it? It could all very well have been in vain - remember, they've got no contract, you've got no yes, so it's all on their side. You've done everything you can possibly do for this book.

But was it enough? Is that enough for you?

Now I want to ask you something: where would you have stopped? Where are you stopped right now? Would you go this far? Would you continuously edit your beloved MS for agent after agent, or would you say "eh, let's try with the next MS" and go from there?

Because if I know one thing, the thing I know is the writer that is published is the writer that didn't give up.

And I'd love to know where you're at with your determination.

Chin up! And report!


  1. Lines like this, "Beta. Agent. Rinse and repeat." This is how I know you are the writing bomb JKB!

    You know my answer!! YES, I would do it all! If a publisher told me my rats would be better if they we're lizards, who ate burritos, watched CSI, and spoke in polka dots, well, let's just say Nightshade City would be a very different book!

    Never give up!!!!!

    xoxo -- Hilary and her ratties!! :)

  2. The publisher is always right if they are publishing your book! But it must be frustrating having to constantly revise on someone else's say so. Does it still feel like your book at the end of it?


  3. No giving up here, even if your agent interaction is like the one in this youtube video.

    It's funny, but you know the problem with comedy right? There's always a grain of truth in it.

    Don't give up JKB, I'm not.

  4. Hilary, I would do it too! Never stopping until it's done!

    But I do know of some people, Douglas and Julie, who say that they will keep going and keep going yet give up in the last pass.

    I will keep going, because I do believe in myself and I believe in all of you! I'd just love to know where you are in the process, fellas. :-)

  5. JKB, I am at 50K words of my latest WIP, heading for 75K. As I have written about my process, I have the story completed longhand, and currently typing it in and editing. I'm a couple of weeks from a first draft. I'll do a couple more passes on it once finished, but then I'm going to send it out into the wild, and see if it has legs to run.

    This is my fourth book FYI.

  6. I think that certain areas of life demand a 'no quit' policy. Writing is probably right at the top. Don't take rejection personally, that's all I'd say. They are not judging you, only what you have written. And even if it doesn't measure up, then that's part of the learning curve and all you have to do is write something better. If you don't believe you can write something better, then it is time to quit.

  7. Never give up! Never surrender!

    Keep writing!


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