How many times do we need to revise our books before it gets published? That is a question no one can really answer.
When I first wrote Gift of Life, I put it away for about a month or so then re-read it, making note to save the file as GOL2. That’s what we all do right? I mean naming our files. I made some changes to the story itself, and put it away again. The next time I opened it, I read some things and thought, “Ew. What was I thinking?” And made more changes.
Throughout all of this, I wasn’t keeping a timeline of what was going on in my story, yet the revisions continued. It took a while to straighten my timeline out, and almost two years later, thinking I was ready to go on and have someone edit for me, I sat down and read it again. After eighteen (Yes that many) revisions, I was still not 100 percent happy with it, but it was at least ready for an editor to take a look at it.
Five months and two more revisions, it was ready. Yay! I thought. It was just published three months later, and I bet if I sat down and read it again, I would find more things I don’t like about it.
So, there is not a real answer to this question. So my advice is, do not rush to publish. Take at least a year on your manuscript (If it is a full length novel anyway) and make sure you don’t hate what you’ve written after someone has downloaded it. Then it is too late.
I read my novels all the time and find things that were missed even after a third or fourth edit. Of course by this time, the errors are minor. A missed end quote, period or comma (Boo! Hiss!). But because I publish electronically I can fix those without any real damage to my story (Yay!)