You’ve finished writing your book. Congratulations! In this post, we discuss five things that happen after you’ve typed The End.
You’ve typed THE END, now what?
I don’t think there is a better feeling in the world than typing the words THE END at the end of your manuscript, but your work is far from done.
As tempting as it is to hit Send and dispatch it to an agent or publisher, there are a few things you can, or should, do first.
It depends on how experienced you are, but most writers still need to rewrite and edit and proofread. Efficient as it might seem, these things can’t happen all at once.
Let’s break down the process.
5 Things That Happen After You’ve Typed THE END
The best thing to do with your manuscript, once you have finished it, is to leave it. Once you are done with the first draft, you’ll need some time and distance. After the necessary time has passed you will reread, make notes, and rewrite as needed. These changes can be big or small. Don’t underestimate it.
After you have reread and rewritten and you’re happy with your story, you can consider an appraisal or critique. This is a service offered by a professional who gives feedback on the manuscript. An edit is different and we’ll discuss that below. Appraisals only look at story and structure. You will receive feedback regarding plot and character development, story structure and dialogue, description and pacing, for example. After you receive the feedback, there may be more rewriting involved. I’d always recommend a third-party company or individual to do the appraisal. Friends and family mean well, but unless they are trained writing professionals, you may not get the right advice.
If you want an appraisal, click here: Appraisals
Once again, after rewriting and once you are happy with your story, you’ll seek out the services of an editor. Editors look at the language, clarity, word choice, passive versus active, tone, etc.. It is important to note that there are editors who specialise in creative work and others who specialise in academic work. A good creative editor will know not to change the writer’s tone or meaning, but to highlight inconsistencies or confusing statements. (Yay, more rewriting.) In short, they look at the language and meaning. Note: Make sure what kind of editing you’re paying for. There are many different kinds of edits. Don’t be afraid to ask, most editors are lovely people and a professional editor will be able to tell you exactly what to expect.
Proofreading is the very last step. Don’t send your work to a proofreader until the story is done. Proofreaders look for typos and errors. This means your story is finished and will not be changed again. If you have to fix anything in the story after they have worked through it, you’ll have to submit and pay for another proofread. This is an important step before submitting to an agent or publisher, and imperative before you go to print if you choose to self-publish. Remember, after all this, a traditional publisher might recommend more changes and then they will send the manuscript for further editing and proofreading once you have made the recommended changes, but it’s important to submit a manuscript that this error-free.
Publishing. All of this will take a few weeks to finish. While you are waiting for the appraisal, editor, or proofreader it’s a good time to update your research.
A big question to answer is whether you want to publish traditionally or self-publish. This is a big decision, but also a personal one and people have very strong opinions about both. You have to do what is right for you. Don’t let anyone bully you. Both processes have pros and cons.
Research all the companies. Do your homework. There are really good companies and really dodgy companies. Google, Google, Google.
If you would like to publish traditionally, you might have had an idea about an agent or publisher, but as the months went by your story changed or the publisher shifted their focus or closed their lists temporarily.
Or there might be new a self- or ePublisher who is better suited for your niche than the one you found a few months ago. Compare quotes from self-publishers.
You can spend the time writing your query letters and synopsis for traditional publishers. If you are self-publishing you have to write and develop marketing material and all the necessary copy for your launch.
Read our FAQs page for suggestions on publishers.
Don’t sit back and wait for the feedback. Use the time to refine your submission. As you can see, typing the The End is not the end and I hope this post points you in the right direction. Best of luck.
by Mia Botha
Buy Mia’s book on how to write short stories: Write the crap out of it and other short story writing advice
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