So it’s been about seven years since I started writing novels and stories. In those seven years, I haven’t quite reached a point where I’ve thought my novels were good enough to submit them anywhere. I view them in some ways, as Brandon Sanderson has said, “practice novels.” I’ve learned what I don’t like and what doesn’t work and I believe I’m getting closer to a point when I’m more confident in my writing or at the very least, my storytelling.
So what are some ways to know that you’re ready to be published? I’ll highlight some thoughts I have below:
1. Balanced Feedback
I’m the type that uses critique partners to help polish my work. However, I find that critique groups can be a sort of trap in some cases. If you’re not with writers that “get” what you’re doing, it may make it harder for you to ever get the kind of feedback your writing needs. Too much positive feedback may confuse you into thinking you’re way better, while negative feedback may hold you back from submitting or self-publishing when you may in fact be ready.
So how do you know when feedback is worth it? Well, when you’re starting to get 75 percent good feedback and about 25 percent negative, then that’s a good place to start. You’re almost always going to find critique partners and beta readers are going to find something wrong with your writing (that is if you have a critical group). Your writing is your writing though. This is why books that are massive best-sellers and critically praised still get 1 star reviews. It’s because you can’t make everyone 100 percent happy. Be happy with a good percentage and move on.
2. Killing Your Inner Editor
Your inner editor hates you. It doesn’t want you to succeed because it’s afraid to hear even a smidgen of negative feedback. So kill it. Throw it off a cliff. But before you do so, utilize it to get your manuscript the best it can possibly be and then hand it over to another pair of eyes. Your inner editor has outline its usefulness once you get to that point.
3. Get Rejected Some
Almost no one gets their first book deal on their first submission. Sure, people like that exist, but let’s just assume that most writers don’t have this luxury. By getting rejected some, it’s a perfect way to gauge if you’re “ready.” Even if you plan to self-publish, it’s not a bad idea to send your manuscripts out and see what kind of response you get. If you get mostly rejections, then maybe something is still not clicking. If you get some positive feedback, maybe you’re a better position than you imagined.
4. You Just Know
Ever have that feeling when you just know something. Sometimes it’s good to just know about your novel. Feel confident in it. You’ve done all the little things you could possibly do to make it the best you can. So send it out there into the world and let the chips fall where they may.
5. Write Your Next Novel
Uh, what does this have to do with knowing you’re ready to be published? What about the novel I just finished? Well, it’s finished. If you’re sending it out and getting mostly rejections, that doesn’t mean to give up on it. However, it does mean you can apply some of the good feedback you’re getting to your next novel. And the best way to achieve success as a writer is to keep writing.
Here’s a list of other thoughts on the subject (including signs you’re not ready) if you’re interested:
What are your thoughts on knowing when you’re ready? Do you just know or do you wait until you have a certain checklist filled out first?
Leave your feedback in the comments!
And remember, all fantasy, all the time!