Sometimes, knowing when you're ready to publish is as hard as writing the manuscript. There are always final edits, and you could have a thousand final drafts. But, do not despair, I have all the tips for knowing when you're ready to start submitting your book.
Reflect on your information-gathering. Did you skimp on the research or did you make sure you got your facts straight? If you did cut corners in any particular section, revisit it and make sure you give it the attention it deserves. But if you honestly did the best research you can, then leave it alone and move one.
Think about your writing process. Was there a section you rushed through? Did you get hung up anywhere? Revisit those spots and clean up the copy. But if you know for sure you were "on," then don't go back. Don't over edit.
Have you read over your finished manuscript? Put your editing pencil away, make a cup of tea, and read through your entire manuscript, just like a reader would. Could you get through it? What parts were a little rough? Once you've finished reading as an "outsider," only then you can pick up your editing pencil again.
Take your final draft (the one marked ReallyReallyThisOneIsItFinalDraft.doc) and test it. Give the manuscript to trusted readers and friends, asking for their bold, honest feedback. Promise them--and yourself--that you won't take any criticism personally. Better you hear about what needs work now than once your book is on the shelves. Let your publisher in on this part of the process, too. They'll be honest because they want to sell your book as much as you do.
You don't have to incorporate ALL the feedback from your test readers. Even with killer best sellers, there are widely different opinions from readers. Some hate it. Others memorize the pages. Remember that opinions are personal. But do check and see if the same feedback keeps popping up across several of your test readers. Give it the attention it requires.
Ask yourself if you feel ready. Have you done everything you can to write the best book you know how to write? If you answer yes, then you are ready. It's time to let go and send your book into the world. It's time to tell your story.
The biggest mistake we see our new authors make is to over-edit. They tweak one word and then another and then another and then. weeks go by with no manuscript to print. To make matters worse, the overly ambitious author-editors tend to do all the reading and editing alone. They don't get feedback from family, friends, and trusted readers. So in the end, they don't know if they're any better off than they were in the beginning. They. Never. Feel. Ready. Don't let this be you.
Think about your writing process. Was there a section you rushed through? Did you get hung up anywhere? This step will really help you in fulfilling your objective.
I hope those tips help you realise when you to submit you book. Do you have any tips to add? What steps do you tske beofre submitting?