When to call it quits.

On editing, not on writing. Never on writing.

I’m working on a blurb for my book and running it through the Query Hell section on Absolute Write. I’ve gotten a bunch of great feedback and tweaked my blurb based on the information I got. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t make changes every single time someone says I should. I know well enough to look for patterns in what people are commenting on, notice when someone’s being nitpicky, or when someone’s plain wrong. If I don’t know these things by now then I imagine my work would look far more schizophrenic than it does.

But right now I think I’m really close to nailing it. Maybe just a couple more tweaks, a little more clarification. But I can feel I’m on the right track. So when I posted the latest revision, someone comes in and the comments they make would basically have me backtracking over the work I’m already done.

No.

I got into this kind of spiral when I was working on the synopsis. I’m not good at blurbs, queries, or synopses so I seek help on them. With the synopsis it was almost comical if it wasn’t so frustrating. I posted the original and then reworked it based on the comments I received. I would post a revision and then people would come in and cross out the work I’d done and recommend going back the other way. I would make revisions based on that only to post it and have the same damn thing happen. After maybe three revisions I was in tears and getting exactly nowhere.

Not going to have that again.

You need to be aware that someone will always find fault with your writing, no matter how polished it ends up being. Whether it’s little things like grammar or a big thing like how a plot or character develops, someone will always have something to say about anything. To such a point that I could probably post a chapter of one of my favorite books for critiquing and people will comment on how to “make it better.” Assuming, of course, they don’t already know what it’s from.

I recently read the copy to Laini Taylor’s new book and it’s so stylistically precise that it’s immediately recognizable as a Laini Taylor book. It’s very vague, very world-specific, and very unique. I guarantee if I were to post that for critting people would shred it. And it’s professionally written copy.

There are threads on this website that go on for pages and pages and at some point I wonder if the OP genuinely thinks that there is such a thing as perfection and they’ll get to a point where no one will have anything to comment about once their blurb reaches that milestone. I’m not saying people are maliciously shredding people’s work (well, some are but those people are easily ignored); I’m just saying people don’t seem to realize that perfection is impossible. You need to recognize when it’s enough.

I really didn’t want to run my book through another round of editing before publishing it but ultimately I’m glad I did. People are picking out exactly what I need to see in order to clean it up, make it neater, make concise, and trim the word count. I’m glad I did it. But once I make that round of edits, it’s to a proofreader and it’s done. Because I’m not slipping into that cycle.

Samsies with the blurb. At this point I think it’s done. I like where I got it thanks to the people who commented, even that last person who gave me something to think about. But I don’t think it needs any more scrutiny other than my own. Then I can finally get it to my cover designer and get the thing finished. Almost. I’m going to ask a couple writer friends if they’ll blurb the book (a total long shot but the worst they can say is no) and I’ll need to get the ISBN and bar code onto the back but that’s it.

Little by little.

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