sallyhanan’s blog

A writer’s blog

The Book is Written! Now What? December 14, 2011

Filed under: Editing,Writing — sallyhanan @ 5:34 pm
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So you’ve written your NaNoWriMo novel/book and you thought the hardest part was over. Let me be honest with you now . . . it was actually the easiest part.

Yes, I am a killjoy. Yes, such is the publishing industry. So what, exactly, do you have to do to get your work of art on bookshelves?

DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES start sending your manuscript out to agents. Every novel needs a beginning, middle and end; character flaws that prevent your hero from succeeding too early on in the story; character development; descriptive settings; humor, tragedy, mystery, etc.

Your first necessity is to find out if your book is any good. You can find out through:

Your mom
If you’ve never written anything before but your family loves it, this is not a guarantee that you have talent. No one who loves you is going to tell you to your face that your novel sucks. You need to show your baby to strangers.

Your friends
Your besties have read your book and they tell you it’s good but they aren’t raving. They have kind words and some suggestions, but they aren’t on the phone to their other besties telling them they absolutely MUST read your offerings. This is a CLUE that your book is only sort of good . . . or it’s total crap.

These are the most honest of all (except for the trolls, who are despicable creatures who live under bridges and eat you when you try to cross over).

BOOK WRITING GROUPS – you submit a chapter a month and you must review the other writers’ chapters for them, or only one chapter from one writer is shared per month. This can be excruciatingly slow, and most writers love to slam your writing rather than build you up and point out the good parts. The benefit of a writing group is that it’s free.

DEVELOPMENTAL EDITORS – S/he will work with you, chapter by chapter, until your book gets to a good enough level to be published. Unless you have a very close friend who will do it for free, this can get expensive. Sometimes you can get lucky and find an editor who will edit in exchange for some other skill you have, like cleaning his guns or her toilets five times a week for the next year.

WEEKEND RETREATS – Bring the outline of your novel (with its main plot and subplots) to a writers’ retreat and get the instant feedback, advice and encouragement you can use to develop your story once you get home. Count on spending just under $1,000 between your flights, car rental, food and the retreat center.

ONLINE WRITING GROUPS – Usually you post your first chapter online and you must give a certain number of reviews on other novels before you can post the next one. Depending on the popularity of the site, this might be your best free option.

“But I don’t want to WAIT!” you whine. Believe me, you can whine all you like and it won’t make your book any better. What you need is a lot of patience and time. If you think about it realistically, your book can wait another few months to a year before it drops off the shelves into the hands of the frenzied masses. You really don’t want to embarrass yourself by attempting to fob off your half-baked novel—that hasn’t a touch of excellence added to it—on them. Or do you . . . ?

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

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