Is Perfection an Art … or Author Sabotage?

POSTED ON Aug 16, 2018

Judith Briles

Written by Judith Briles

Home > Blog > Self-Publishing > Is Perfection an Art … or Author Sabotage?

By Judith Briles

Are you fiddling while your book-to-be does a slow burn? Are you working on creating the perfect book? Yes, we all hate typos, dropped words, grammar hiccups, or writing something that is incorrect.

Hmmm …

Super Heroes are perfect. And they aren’t real.

Unicorns are perfect … and they aren’t real.

Fairies are perfect … and they aren’t real.

So why do you believe that

  • every word
  • every sentence
  • every paragraph
  • every page
  • every chapter
  • every book
  • every, every

must be perfect?

And do you really, really think that every edit and editor is perfect?

Nope is the answer. I can give a manuscript to 20 different editors and can guarantee that I will get 20 variations back.

Perfection? It’s a myth … as super heroes, unicorns and fairies are.

My advice:

  • do the best writing you can
  • get coaching and editing
  • get the best cover and interior you can for your budget

Then, go for it. Get your work out there.

Publish It—Even When It’s Not Perfect

Oh-Oh … I can feel the heels digging in, even some pissed off responses coming my way. But stop, take a minute to just breathe from here.

I get it … you want to become a better writer, a better author. If that’s you, you have to be willing to put stuff out there that isn’t perfect. I’ve already said it: get editing (and no, that doesn’t mean your friend or a relative reads the book—a real life editor needs to get his or her eyes and fingers on it). Sure, have beta readers … it’s a yes, yes, yes to other eyes and feedback. You want your book-to-be as good as it can be … but as good as it can be for RIGHT NOW.

But here’s where so many authors-to-be get into trouble. The perfection bug hits …

  • procrastination …
  • more tweaking …
  • more tinkering …

And what happens? Paralysis enters. You stop. And time marches by. Possibly the “hot window” that your book could have entered has become lukewarm.

There isn’t a time when I haven’t looked back at some of my own books and thought—

Jeeze, what were you thinking Judith. Why did you write it this way? You could have said this better … blah, blah, blah.

Stop it. Let it go. For me, it’s a “yes” to all of the above thoughts that have gone through my mind and what I have said out loud. You are an evolving writer and author. You will get better. I know that how I wrote 30 years ago is so amateur when compared to how I write and express my thoughts today. You are no different.

I get it and I know how hard it is to let your words out and expose them (and you) to the world when you feel they aren’t quite ready. I so know.

Do the best you can … it’s all you can ask of yourself. Know that you will grow as you continue your journey in the wonderful worlds of writing, authoring and publishing. When you compare yourself to other writers and authors who “have made it,” understand that they’ve been in the writing game far longer than you have. They, too, were beginners at one time. Amateurs.

Here’s your “to-do’s” for your journey:

  1. Set aside time to write and complete your book.
  2. Get your book out and available to buyers. Yes, published—it’s a happy dance.

Then …

  1. Create your Author Central page on Amazon.
  2. Stop hiding … create a Contact page that has “contact” information on it on your website. Look at mine on
  3. Use the right social media platforms—the ones where your potential buyers are.
  4. Market your book to your targeted readers … you do it until you no longer want sales.

It’s a start. A commitment. A deal with yourself and a small circle of supporters that you are going to get this baby done, out and then market it. Errors that pop up, fix them. In the print on demand world, this becomes a no-brainer.

Many wannabe authors practice the art of one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, three to get ready, three to get ready … and they never go. They keep reaching for

  • one more thing
  • one more read-through
  • one more re-write
  • one more piece of information
  • another interview
  • another who knows what

Sometimes, it’s just another excuse. Their book never gets completed or good enough, much less published. Their quest for the perfect book has become the enemy of creating a good book, even a great book.

Perfection and procrastination go hand-in-hand. Break the bond and move forward today. Get your book published.
Photo: BigStockPhoto

Judith Briles

Written by
Judith Briles

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