How does a writer decide to set aside a novel that isn't working?
Don't worry, I'm not considering giving up on my own novel. I still very much believe in it. But I read this moving article by the author of Cracked Up to Be and Fall for Anything, Courtney Summers (if the article doesn't touch you, you must be made of wood.), and I had the thought: it's such a difficult thing to finally admit to yourself that something you created isn't working, and you should shelve it and move on to something else. This author had to face that realization more times than I could have handled, but she kept on trying and eventually she got published!
To me, it would be like the stages of grief to let go of a manuscript I had believed in. For some writers it isn't an option to give up on a manuscript. They would simply self-publish if traditional publication failed them. It all depends on the writer and their attitude toward publication.
How would you handle it? Would you accept it as a part of the business and realize it was time to try something else? Would you mourn it for awhile and then plunge onward? Or would you choose to self-publish?