Welcome to the second part of our NOW WHAT? Series! Did you follow last week's guidelines? Were you able to write your story? Did you finish something you've been working on?
Congratulations! Your are now an author! This is big news! You've finished your manuscript, poured your heart and soul into it, and maybe even bled a little. Your newborn ideas are on paper and ready to be raised into adult ideas that can go out into the world!
So how do you do that?
Step #1: Make that bad boy shine!
Every fledgling manuscript needs a thorough read-over. This is something that you can do, but don't do it as soon as you've put down the pen!
Once you finish the first draft, put it away for two weeks. Let it get completely out of your mind. I know it's tempting to go back right away, but you need fresh eyes and a fresh brain.
Give your manuscript a good scrubbing when you do return to it. Don't worry too much about little things like spelling errors and grammar. Your first read-through should be for continuity.
MS Word, Scrivener, OfficeLibre, and pretty much any other word processor, have features that allow you to make comments inside the manuscript. You can use this to make notes about changes you want to make. This makes writing your next draft infinitely easier.
Once you've been through it a few times, get a beta reader. Beta readers are great for testing out how your book reads. They can help you with content and flow, as well as edits. You can hire beta readers, but often-times other authors are willing to read your manuscript and give you feedback.
You can then take their suggestions and move into another draft!
Revisions are key to a newborn manuscript. Nothing is perfect the first time, and your thoughts or ideas may change over time. Don't be afraid to plug those new things into your manuscript and see what you get!
Step #2: How are you going to publish your new book?
Once you've had through revisions and you're ready, it's time to decide on a publishing path.
A lot of people want an agent and a big contract with a publishing company. This is always a great goal to shoot for, but let's be realistic. Out of all the ones that are submitted, very few books are accepted by agents. Your chances decrease as you approach large publishing houses.
But there is good news!
Independent publishing is a soaring market. It is beginning to rival traditional publishing! Companies like Createspace and Ingram Spark make it easy to upload your book and print it. In less than a year, you can have a physical copy in your hand. Sounds great, right?
There are more steps you must take before you run to have your manuscript printed. In next week's NOW WHAT, I will talk about your book design, including cover and interior!