[New Author Tips] You've Finished Your Novel, Now What? #1

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Writing a novel is tough. Getting started is always the first challenge an author must overcome and I, myself, struggle with this part a bit too much for my liking. However, once over that hurdle, the writing comes easily and the words fill your blank pages one by one. The next thing you know, you've completely written your first novel after days, weeks, months hard at work to bring your ideas to life. Congratulations on finishing your novel. I have some bad news though, the writing process is about as easy as it gets when you're looking to publish it. 

Whether you're looking to publish through traditional means or self-publish, there are always steps to follow before making your next move. A lot of new authors make similar mistakes and this post should help you find the right path before you go out and publish. I am, by no means, a complete expert in publishing, but this all comes from experience. Learn from the mistakes I and others have made. 

Your first draft is NOT PUBLISHABLE. "What do you mean I can't publish right away?" I'd like to take a moment to give you some clarity. Just because you finished your novel, does not mean that it's ready to be published. The first draft is by far the messiest and ugliest part of your novel. Before you even think about publishing it, your book must go through several rounds of personal and professional edits. Your personal edits should focus mainly on the story itself to make sure everything flows well while you delete scenes and write new ones or reconstruct sentences that just seem off. Of course, you can always edit your spelling and grammar too. 

Get your novel PROFESSIONALLY edited. You did a few rounds of personal edits, so it should be ready, right? NO. The story always needs a fresh pair of eyes -- professional eyes. These editors are experts in their field and can pick up on a lot of things you didn't during your own personal edits. I can't tell you how many times I would edit my own works only to go through "one last time" and find even more things that I had to fix. Fresh eyes will always help, especially when they belong to an expert. 

Market your book! Because you're new to the scene, chances are you don't have a following from an audience of people who would be interested in your book. Frankly, you should start marketing way before you finish your book, but as they say, "better late than never." Use Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram to get your book out there. Make sure to use hashtags that are relevant to your book and its genre while providing a quality post that could hook your potential readers. Bring out that inner salesperson!

Have an EYE-CATCHING cover. Get a cover done by a professional to ensure you get a high quality and attractive book cover for your book. I know there's that whole saying "don't judge a book by its cover" and while that may be true in some cases, there are readers out there that do, indeed, judge the book by the cover. I happen to be one of those people (though there have been a book or two with simple and not-so-attractive covers that actually ended up being really good), so you bet there are other readers out there that are the same way. 

The road to publishing for a new author is tough and long, but following the advice found in these posts can really help you go a long way and set you on the path to the correct and most successful way to publish. 

If you have any questions you would like answered in a future "New Author Tips" post, please send me an e-mail with them and I will have them answered in the next post! 

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