Let me start this post by saying I am now querying. Those of you who follow me on twitter have seen me talking about SlackerBoy, and yes, that is the manuscript that is being published. Nope, it's not it's actual title, but a nickname.
I've been wanting, for awhile, to start merging my blog into more of a writer's blog. I'll definitely still talk books, tell you guys my favorites, but I know that as a writer, as someone who is actively pursuing getting my stuff published, someone who beta reads for other writers and authors, the way I view books has changed. So with that, I'm going to start doing a weekly post that is me as a writer, rather than a reader, and as more changes start slowly happening around here, I hope you guys will stick with me.
But the one thing I did know? I didn't want to rush into querying. I didn't want to be told about a major problem with my book by an agent. I wanted that to come from someone else, when I could fix it before agents saw it. Did I catch everything myself? Not at all. Did I struggle trying to fix what some of my readers said needed to be fixed? Absolutely. Did it seem easier to just ignore them, say my way is right, and move on? So much.
Yet when I heard the same similar thing from 2-3 people, I knew I had to work on it. Even if it was something not specific or tangible, per say, I still had to figure it out. It seems obvious, when I say it like this, but you hear all the time about writers rushing things, rushing into querying.
I've had four rounds of readers, and each time the list of things to fix grew smaller until finally, most of what was being said was more personal preference, than a specific flaw.
Yes. Personal preference. And that is the point where I knew my book was as good as I could make it. Where I didn't have to make every change that came back in a crit. Where I was potentially going to damage the book rather than making it better.
Does that mean I wrote the suggestion off? No. I definitely considered every one, but if it was simply a matter of catering the book to that person, then I didn't need to do that. It's hard to know, though, when it's at this point. To some extent, it's intuition, and to another extent, I've simply learned. I've paid attention to what suggestions of mine other people have taken and what they haven't. I've talked it out with a writing friend at times, debated the pros and cons depending on how big a change it would be.
Basically, I haven't been afraid to take a break. To take several months off, to let the book get out of my head so I can go back in with fresh eyes. I haven't been afraid to take a year and a half to get from first draft to final revision. I've let myself tweak and pick, yet set a standard from the start that would be the point where I stop picking.
Did I take too long? Maybe. But am I completely happy with what I am presenting with agents, rather than feeling like I am settling just to be querying? Undeniably.