Monday, July 20, 2009

Good Enough Is Never Enough

I don’t believe in the words “it’s good enough” because I will tell you right now that if you ever say to your agent, your critique partner, or your editor that “it’s good enough,” it’s not. Nothing should ever go out on submission or be dropped into the hands of your editor until you deem it’s perfect or as perfect as you’re ever going to get it without her guidance. Of course, “with her guidance” means perfect because you should never expect that someone else is going to fix it for you simply because it’s good enough.

Lately I’ve heard these words and other similar shocking phrases come out of the mouths of authors and it’s made me wonder how seriously they really are about getting published. Many of you have the warped idea that you’re up against evil agents when seeking publication, and that’s as far from the truth as it can get. We are not your competition. Your competition is that gal sitting next to you in your critique group and that fellow who just commented on this post, both of whom are well past good enough, teetering on the precipice of perfect.

I will tell you right now that “it’s good enough” will never, ever cut it in this business, and it’s not just the writing that always needs to be better than good enough, it’s your attitude. If you’re not willing to work your fingers to the bone to make it really happen in the biggest way possible, it won’t. It just plain won’t. You won’t grow, you won’t learn, and you won’t get published.

Want to know the other phrase that’s killing me these days? It’s something along the lines of “I only really saw it as a rough draft anyway” after the proposal has been sent to editors and/or agents. Really!? My question to you is why would you want anyone to ever read what you deem as nothing but a rough draft? Wait, not just read it, but make decisions about your publishing career based on that rough draft. A rough draft or “good enough” can cancel a contract, kill a potential deal, or just plain stall any possibility of publication.

So let’s all remember that “good enough” is never enough. We’re all striving for perfect. I work daily to negotiate the most perfect deals and contracts on your behalf, I send revision letters seeking perfection and I think you should never expect less of yourself than perfect.