When is it time to give up on a book and move on to something else? This is a question I think about a lot, particularly as my current project has been going on for more than eight years, and is still not ready for submission.
It's not an easy question to answer, and the water is further muddied by the mix of advice out there in internet land. A recurring theme is that you should never get caught up on "The Book" - the single work that drains years of your time and will probably never venture beyond your own bookshelf. On the other hand, there's also plenty of advice about how to self-edit, how to improve a book to increase its chances of publication, and how you should never, ever, ever give up.
According to popular legend, Jo Rowling spent several years trying to get Harry Potter published. I wonder what would have happened if, after a year or so, she'd decided it was time to move on, put Harry in a box beneath the bed, and gone off to write a story about a girl with a crush on a vampire, or something like that.
In the end, I have no answer to this dilemma, other than to say I think there is wisdom in both sides of the argument, and the truth probably lies somewhere in between (otherwise known as a 'cop-out'). For myself, I currently have one other book bubbling around in my head, and it's something I'm excited about and I'm desperate to get in to. But I've decided to do one last pass on Ghost of Ping-Ling, hopefully finish it in the next few weeks, then feed it to the machine. After that, I can get my teeth into something new in the six-months or so before I hear something.
What about you? I'd be really interested to hear other people's wisdom on this subject - don't be shy!