The draft you’ve worked on tirelessly for a year (or longer) is done. Now what? Pat yourself on the back. Writing a book from beginning to end is no easy task.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the first or last draft. Completion is still an achievement.
What you do next is up to you.
Take a Break
Before you do anything else, take a break from the manuscript. Come back to it after some time has passed. How much time you take is up to you. I give myself at least a 2-3 day break.
If you’re working on a series, it’s a good idea to start plotting out the next book.
But didn’t you say take a break?
Yes, but taking a break from your finished manuscript doesn’t mean stop writing.
The details of the plot and characters are still fresh. You might as well take advantage of it. As I wait for beta readers’ feedback, I’m working on the second book of the series.
These are people who read the story to provide constructive criticism and feedback to the author. They will see things that you, the author, may not. Beta Readers can notice plot holes, inconsistencies, or unclear passages.
It’s important to get another set of eyes on your WIP. You know your story. Since you know it so well, some plot holes will slip by. Other small inconsistencies may go unnoticed. Your MC could start with brown hair and could end up with black hair by the end, simply because you forgot.
Beta Readers don’t need to be strangers you find on the internet. They can be fellow peers in a writers’ group, or a trusted blunt friend you know will give you honest feedback.
Many people discourage asking family to be Beta Readers. The reasoning is they will tell you it’s good so they don’t hurt your feelings. Though, if you feel someone within your family will give you constructive feedback, give it a try. Follow it up with people that are not family for a better range of opinions.
If you don’t have a writer’s group or others to give feedback, Reddit has r/BetaReaders. I have not worked with anyone or posted there but it’s a resource to try. Fiverr also has many Beta Reader gigs, if you want to pay someone.
This is an important part of the process. Writers don’t see all the grammar and spelling mistakes they make. It is best to do this between completed drafts before sending them to Beta Readers. Though, I do find myself editing as I go in some chapters.
Editing the manuscript is crucial when you’re looking at the final draft before publishing. Too many errors could be the final decision an agent or publisher may not consider your book.
Self-published authors will need editors. Do not rely on tools like Grammarly. Yes, they help find typos. For editing an entire 120k-word novel? A pair of human eyes will always be better than AI. I know I’m not the best at finding my own mistakes. When the time comes, I will be looking for an editor.
Your manuscript is as polished to the best of your ability. Now it’s time to look for a publisher or self-publishing. Each has its strengths. You as an individual author will need to do your homework and see which option is best for you and your work.
Self-publishing is expensive for some people. All the marketing, editing, book cover art, and e-book formatting is your responsibility.
Traditional publishing is like finding the needle in the haystack. Your book will either never be looked at or will get an instant rejection. I’m not this far in my writing career, but both situations sound heartbreaking and frustrating.
It’s well known that most traditional publishers are partial to books that have similar themes as best sellers. They rarely take a chance on anything new, especially from a new nobody author.
Whatever decision is next after the WIP draft is done, is for the writer to make. Getting tips along the way never hurt anyone. You are the one that knows what’s best for your book baby in the end.
Even if that means stepping away from it for a week so you can see it again with a new resolve.
Remember to take self-care days during your writing adventure.
See you next time.
2 thoughts on “The Draft is Done. What Next?”
I never thought about genre tropes when it comes to book covers. Insightful. Thank you for reading 😊
Great summary – an indie author really needs a good editor, totally agree! Readers can be super picky about too many mistakes in a book. They also a good cover designer who understands the genre tropes so the cover gets clicked on when a reader is scrolling through the list of books on Amazon or other places. Good luck on your journey!
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