Writers Write creates writing resources and shares writing tips. In this post, we discuss six things to do when you finish writing your book.
First Novel Jitters
So, you’ve finished your first novel. Maybe, it happened easily, or after months and years of agonising fits and starts. Congratulations! It’s something that few people manage to do.
What happens next? Are you ready to send it off to publishers? Or to self-publish?
At Writers Write, we suggest you breathe. And reflect. This is not the end. It is just the end of the beginning in your journey as a novelist.
6 Things To Do When You Finish Your Book
Before you do anything you might regret, consider these options:
- Put it on hold. Put it away for at least four weeks. Do not look at it. Do not edit it. You need to have a break from the project that has consumed you for a long time. After your break, read it with new eyes, as if you are a reader picking it up for the first time.
- Keep it as proof of an apprenticeship. You have to write for 10 000 hours before you can write well. You need to write millions of words to become a great novelist. Sometimes, it’s good to get your first novel out of the way. You could consider it a practice run for your career. Sue Grafton said: ‘Of the first seven novels I wrote, numbers four and five were published. Numbers one, two, three, six, and seven, have never seen the light of day…and rightly so. The eighth novel I wrote was “A” is for Alibi‘
- Send it off for an appraisal. You may want to pay for this from a professional service. You could also join a writer’s group to get feedback on the manuscript.
- Take a writing course. We know this sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s a good way to see if you’ve covered the basics of good novel writing. It will also help you when you’re editing.
- Set up an editing timetable. You may need to rewrite chunks of your book. You may need to edit. You may need to proofread. You probably need to do all three of these. Remember that this may take a while. Sometimes, the rewriting takes more time and energy than writing the first draft.
- Get a professional edit. If you can afford it, we really recommend this. The editor will see things you are unable to see. This will give you a polished, professional final draft.
© Amanda Patterson
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