Seidman was the first complete novel I ever wrote, and many people who have read it tell me it’s my best work. The first draft was finished three years ago, and it’s now on draft six, which is more than I’ve reworked any story.
And it has yet to be published. In fact, it hasn’t even been sent to a publisher.
Why? Well, when you start thinking of something you’ve written as your best work, then you start getting pretty protective of it. You keep tweaking it, trying to make it absolutely perfect, and you start telling yourself, “I’ll send this out, just as soon as it’s finished!” But of course, at that rate, it will never be finished. I’ve seen others do this, and saw how easily they got trapped in this never-ending editing loop, until the end result was that their “best” work was actually something they’d created so long ago that they could probably do better now, if they would just let go of this work and move on. I vowed I would never fall into that trap.
Yet, here I am, three years down the road and still “polishing” the manuscript.
The other thing that plays a factor is fear. If this is my “best” work, then what happens if I send it out and everybody hates it? Will people sneer at me and ask, “Is this the best that you could do?” What if it is? Will that mean I suck?
Fortunately, I am not a patient man. Which means I’m a disaster at detail work, but pretty good at saying, “That’s good enough! Ship it!” This has served me well over the years, and it has now come to the rescue of Seidman.
It’s time to let it go. It’s good, but it’s not Gone With the Wind. It probably won’t win a Pulitzer. It’s time for one last quick polish, followed by a firm swat on the butt as I send it out the door.
It’s first stop will be a new gay YA imprint that’s being launched soon. I can’t say much about it, until the imprint is launched, but I’ve contacted the editor, informally, and she’s expressed an interest in seeing the novel. So I’m planning on sending it out this weekend or early next week. If she doesn’t like it, then I have a couple agents in mind.