You’re at the finish line. You’ve slogged through a first draft, second, third, fiftieth draft. Beta readers provided feedback, and your line editor handed you a document covered in comments and red ink. You’ve ordered your printed proof and several eager readers have provided a list of typos. Today, we’re going to share some tips and affirmations to let go of your manuscript.

Set a Deadline

The number one way to get your book out of your hands is to set a deadline and, most importantly, stick to it. Make sure it’s a reasonable deadline based on your lifestyle and abilities. If you’ve got a publish date, you should ideally have your book completed at least 90 days prior (more is better). From that point, work backward:

  • T-6mo: Beta Reading
  • T-5mo: Line Editing
  • T-4mo: QA process/proofing/typo checking
  • T-3mo: Book Complete and Available for Preorder
  • T: Book released

Why give yourself 90 days between preorder and release? Because life happens. You’re less likely to miss your deadlines if you give yourself a little lag between them.

You’ve Done Everything You Can

How to let go of your manuscript: Trust that you've done everything you can

Right about the time you get ready to finish, some authors start second-guessing all the things they were sure of before. Is the second act well-written? Does the romance simmer enough? Or is it one giant garbage fire?

As the alter-ego says: Slay Your Fears.

If you’ve followed the steps outlined in our editing toolbox, there really is nothing to be fearful of. And even if there is a missing period, most readers won’t notice it. The human brain is geared to fill in the blanks. As long as your book is mostly free of errors, you’ll be fine. And if that typo made it past all your QA readers, then it’s probably going to make it past most of your readers.

It is okay!

Focus Your Energy Elsewhere

How to let go of your manuscript: Channel your energy into marketing to avoid overthinkingThe best way to channel your nervous energy is to focus on something else. Ideally, if you’re at the finish line for your book, you should already have a marketing plan in place. But if not, now’s the time to slap one together. Instead of fussing over the book, write a few blogs about the book. Reach out to some fellow authors for guest posts. Talk about your excitement on social media (and your anxiety).

Then press that publish button and go have an adult beverage!

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