You’ve finished the rough draft of your novel. You slaved over the keyboard, drank more cups of coffee than should be humanly possible, can’t count how many showers and restful nights have been interrupted by story ideas, and finally wrote “The End”. Congratulations! You’re ready to get your book out into the world!
Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.
Your work has just begun.
Yep, that’s right. Writing the rough draft is, believe it or not, the easy part of the process. Everyone talks about writing a book, but no one likes to talk about the ugly nitty gritty of editing, cover design, and formatting.
You still have months of work ahead of you.
But don’t get discouraged! This is the time when you polish that rough draft into a shining gem! So what comes next?
One of the questions authors ask frequently is, “How many rounds of edits do I need to go through?” This depends on how messy your first draft is, but if you have a solid outline and exciting characters, you’ll need to do 3 rounds of editing yourself.
First, right there on your computer in your word processor of choice (hopefully Scrivener, because it’s da bomb.)
Second, you’ll print out the entire manuscript, double- or triple-spaced, and edit on paper with a pen. Yes, just like the 20th century.
Finally, you’ll read the manuscript aloud to yourself. I know; you hate the sound of your own voice. So do I. Close the door and give everyone in your household strict orders not to disturb you. This step is vital! You’ll be utterly amazed at how many passages sound like literary gold on paper, but once you say it aloud is the most awkward phrasing ever known to humanity. Trust me. Don’t skip this step, no matter how uncomfortable it is.
While your doing your own edits, you should also be working with your cover designer. Don’t leave this till the end. Your designer needs time to fit you into their schedule and do any necessary revisions to ensure your book stands out.
After you’ve finished your edits, now you want to get opinions from other people. You can find beta readers in local or online writing groups, or professionals who will charge for their services. This will let you know if the story makes sense, if there are any plot holes or unfinished subplots, if the characters are engaging, and more.
There are many types of editing, but what I’m talking about here is the line-edit. This is where a smarty-pants with an English degree will go through your manuscript line-by-line and fix all those trick grammar and spelling mistakes. Do not trust your best friend’s sister’s cousin who edited the college newsletter; it’s super important that you get a real professional to do this. Readers will notice the difference.
You are planning on publishing a paperback version of your book, right? RIGHT?! Print still outsells eBooks, and you don’t want to alienate potential readers who still cherish the feel and smell of a new book in their hands. Don’t forget this step and rush through it; formatting can be tricky, but if you plan for it, you’ll end up with a book to rival traditionally published books.
Scrivener makes this super easy, so I won’t say much about it, other than to remind you this IS a step you must plan for and carefully review the finished product to make sure no funky paragraph breaks or superfluous blank pages snuck their way in.
I know this is a lot of work, but you’ve already poured your heart and soul onto the page; why shortchange your book now? Your Dream Published will help you with all these steps. Click here to get all the details and sign up today!
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