When is a book done?

You’ve written a book, had it edited, sent it to friends and beta readers, but when do you know if it is “done?”

A book doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be “done.” Make it the best you can make it, but at some point it has to be launched; otherwise, it is just a collection of words sitting on your hard drive.

Saying that you’ve written a book indicates that you’ve written a thing that can be shared with others. If the thing that you’ve written never quite gets to the transmission part, it’s really not a book.

Every book is not going to please every person. That any particular person does not like your book does not mean that your book isn’t “good,” it just means it isn’t for them. Remember, Frank Herbert’s novel “Dune” was rejected by 20 big publishers (the experts) before it was finally published by a company that published car manuals.

Find people whose opinion you trust to give feedback on your work. People that can, hopefully, both understand your work as well as be able and willing to give you constructive criticism. Be willing to take that criticism, but also know that at times you have to stand in your own voice. Knowing when to do that takes both time and experience as an author.

As an author, you also have to learn how to have humility. Recognize that the way your book comes across to you in your head may not be the same way it comes across to a reader. Again, a fundamental premise of a book is one of transmission and communication. That is why the outside feedback is so important. Is what you are thinking you are communicating actually coming across?

Also realize that the writer that you are today is not the writer you will be ten years from now, or even six months from now. Just as writing is a process, authors are always developing, progressing, and improving.

In the future, you may look back on the book you are putting out now and cringe thinking of all the ways you could make it better. Not only is that okay, but it is to be expected. If you keep writing, you should expect to improve and that improvement will be evident in your writing over time.

To answer the question, “when is a book done;” ask yourself

  • Has the point you are trying to make or the story you want to tell has been communicated?
  • Do your editors and/or beta readers confirm that the point or story is coming across?
    Have you done your best?
  • If the answer to those questions is “yes,” then your book is ready to meet the world.