Monday, August 20, 2012


Here’s a question I’ve been toying with: When is it time to reassess?
Lemme back up. I’ve written six books. Just started Lucky Number 7. Of those six, I queried, um, three and just started querying the fourth. And for each of the previous three, I’ve had to—at some point—sit down and reassess. It had been queried and rejected and revised and queried and rejected and nothing was happening and as much as I loved it—was it time to set it aside? Was it time to move on to the next project, to query something else?
Sometimes, that was an easy decision. Not easy, exactly, but not super difficult. Then there were others—the paranormal series that I still love, that I wanted to see in print, that I knew wouldn’t find a home in the market drowning in paranormal.  Or the dystopian fairy tale retelling. That hurt a lot. That still hurts.
But each time, I sit down and look at my family, look at my personal goals, and make a choice. Sometimes, it’s easy. Sometimes, I fight it. But just like a character that knows the story even when I don’t, I’ve figured out that fighting is kind of pointless.
So what about you? When do you reassess? Is it when you have a new manuscript ready to query? Or when your fifteen fulls have turned into fifteen passes? Or when that revise and resub turned you down after six months?
Here’s a bigger question: When do you reassess the BIG goals?
There are all kind of goals in this long road. All kind of mile-markers. Finishing a book. Your first full request. The signing of an agent. Signing a contract. Releasing a book. The NYT list. *grin*.
But….what if you stall? What if you get the book done, get the full request, and don’t get the agent? What if you try and try and book after book, you make no real progress. No measurable progress? Do you reassess then? Do you look into self-publishing? Or do you keep chasing a dream? And…if you do adjust your goals, take a different path—is that still chasing a dream, or is it giving in and taking the easy out?
These are the questions I’ve been wrestling with, and I’ve got no real answers. All I have is the simple truth that decides all my choices: I’m doing what I love. Even when it means adjustment and setting aside books I adore.
Q4U: Have you ever wrestled with these questions? And what answers do you have? 


  1. I reassess at all stages of the process, but generally that just means I find a reason to continue on to the step. I have a novel that has a limited market as far as publishers go. When I have exhaussted that list, only then will I shelve the novel completely.

  2. I don't think that taking a different path is giving up on your goal or taking an easy way out. (Because self-publishing, when done correctly, is not easy.)

    Taking a different path is simply looking for your goal in a new place -- or exploring an alternate route to getting there.

    There is no "one way" anymore. There are choices.

  3. For me, that moment is all about love. Since it's an unpaid process I have to love the story enough to revise it again, push on with queries, etc. I feel the same way about traditional vs. e-publishing - some of it is what's right for the novel, but mostly it's about where my heart is at - holding a paper book and having the 'officially' published status, or having control and letting my work loose on the world.

  4. I reassessed when I start editing (because, seriously, who wants to wade through that?). If it's good enough for me to be excited about editing, then it's good enough to keep working on.