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Don’t let perfectionism stop your publishing project

I’m currently working with two clients at the moment, and both of them suffer from the same affliction – perfectionism!

Don’t get me wrong, in some areas of business, being accurate is essential – but when it comes to writing a book (especially if it’s a lead generation tool, i.e being given away for free) perfectionism can really stall production.

What started out as a 4 week project (in both cases), have turned into a 3 month one and most of the hold-up’s have come from re-writes, editing and amending minute detail that will have no bearing on the result the reader will get when digesting the content.

Now I’m not saying that you should produce a book with spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, or slap dash production (The Book Refinery has strict quality control regarding these areas!) BUT, constant re-writes, and editing of large sections that were perfectly adequate in the first draft, can really hold it up – and at the moment, I still can’t see these projects being published before Christmas!

So here are my top tips to getting your publishing project finished on time – with little to no hold ups!

  • Have a clear plan (or blueprint) before you start!
  • Set a date that you want the book published, and stick to it.
  • Don’t fall into the re-write trap. Unless your info is wrong, or out of date – don’t re-write chunks of your book, you usually will make it more complicated
  • Don’t get distracted by layout and formatting. Let the professionals worry about that!
  • Remember that many people aren’t going to read your book cover to cover. So keep it simple – you’re not writing the next Moby Dick!

Of course, seeing your work in print, for some, is a really big event, and getting it right is important. BUT, you don’t want to be spending months and months trying to perfect your work, for it only to be delayed instead of ‘out there’ bringing in more qualified leads to your business.

“In short, you have to put yourself out there in your imperfect glory and not waste time trying to make it perfect.”

Writing and publishing a book can seem like a huge and daunting task, and getting it right is a top priority – however don’t let perfectionism get in the way of publishing! You’re book will NEVER be perfect, but as long as the information is easily accessible, and written in a way that speaks to your readers, then your book will perform its function.

Need help with your writing project or someone to keep you on track? Then get in touch, as the Book Refinery can make sure you finish your  project on time and get your book working for you quickly and easily – simply email me at alexa@thebookrefinery.com and tell me a bit about your project. I look forward to hearing from you!




  • Great advice, Alexa. Thank you! I especially like that 2nd point about setting a date — that’s the only way I got my last e-book out there. I had to give myself a deadline — and then stick to it. It worked!

    • Alexa_Whitten

      Thanks Sandra, it’s true that getting your work published when it’s good enough is a key to moving forward! Well done.

  • Andrewfield3

    Have to disagree with you Alex – if you don’t reach for perfection, what’s the point!

    • Alexa_Whitten

      Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for your comment – and yes, to some – getting material perfect is a top priority. However when it comes to getting your message in the public domain, and the only thing that is holding you back is making sure it’s ‘perfect’, can cripple your creativity.
      I’m seeing clients re-write bits of their work that don’t need re-writing – but for the sake of ‘I must get this perfect’ – constant edits become a habit, rather than getting the information published.
      As long as there is a reasonable balance of accurate, and readability, perfectionism can become an excuse not to out yourself out there – and by doing that, you’re denying your target market valuable information.

  • You’re right, Alexa, because re-writing can turn into procrastination, and you just become stuck. Besides, everyone has a different view of perfection, and if you try to please everyone – then you please nobody.

    You have to take a deep breath, and let go!

    This gives food for thought:

    “Perfection is a trifle dull. It is not the least of life’s ironies that this, which we all aim at, is better not quite achieved.” – W. Somerset Maugham