Monday, January 7, 2013

Getting Ready to Shelve A Book

I am seriously, THIS CLOSE to shelving a book.

I've worked at it and worked at it and worked at it, and I think I've made it as good as it can be without breaking it, and it's still not good enough.

I'm ready to be done.

So what does one do?

It's a good book. Writers groups, agents, editors, heck, even the occasional relative has told me so. But it's not quite good enough, and I'm about through with trying to fix it.

Do I hide it away somewhere? Somewhere where not even I have to look at it or think about all the work that went into it?

Do I publish a few copies, hand them out to close friends, and let that be it?

No writing is ever wasted, I realize that - by writing this book I have changed myself as a writer and a person. But as far as the book itself goes... what do I do? I've never had to shelve a good book before. Everything before this was ugly and I knew it was ugly. :) What do I do?

A warehouse. Kind of like where the government keeps all the stuff Indiana Jones finds but can't use. Kind of like where we writers put the stuff we write but can't use. Y'know?

I suppose - and this is me just supposing - that what we do with the words themselves doesn't matter nearly as much as what we do with the person who wrote them. When it's time to be done with a book - done, REALLY done - then I guess the best thing to do is to look at ourselves and smile and go, "Well, that was fun. Let's do it again."

I don't know. What do you think?


  1. I'd suggest putting it on a shelf for a few months (or years) and work on something else. Don't throw it to the dust bunnies under the bed yet, but let it marinate in a little "drawer time." Time gives the distance from it to figure out what it lacks.

    In the meantime, work on something new. You'll have a second manuscript to sell, and you'll learn things that you can go back and apply. Maybe you'll even sell #2, and they'll ask for #1, and be able to tell you what it needs to get it where you want it.

    Only give up on it if you really want to. But sometimes, changing focus is what you really need.

    1. I like the 'work on something new' idea. Thank you, Rebecca.

  2. What a frustrating, disheartening feeling! Don't you just wish we all had an "in" with whatever we want to do? I wish I had thoughts or advice. Keep working, and good luck!

    1. No worries, Erin. Life happens, sometimes projects just die or need resting. :)

  3. I agree with Ms. Niles.
    I have 4 manuscripts I wrote that I've never revised or shown to anybody (almost anybody). I'm content to just let them be, because they were partly how I learned to write novels. They are in a different category than 2 other manuscripts, ones I revised and queried, but now I need a "break" from them. I'm working on other things, and I'll eventually go back to querying them. Maybe after I already have a book published and an in with an agent or editor for extra help. The nice thing is you don't have to figure everything out NOW. And you can always change your mind.

    1. Thanks, Rain. Okay, well, looks like I need to brainstorm a brand new project. Exciting, eh?