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What to Do When You Are Finished Writing

Posted on: April 26th, 2017 by Publisher Services

If you’ve recently finished writing your book – whether it is your first or fifteenth – the first thing to do is congratulate yourself! Statistically, the vast majority of books that are started will never be completed by the author. So, take a moment and enjoy this milestone. Once you have, it’s time to get to work. Writing the actual book may be the most difficult step but it is not the last one. Once the first draft has been written, there is still work to be done. Here are the essential steps to take next.

1. First, take a break. In order to get your book published and into the hands of readers takes a tremendous amount of work. Before you get started, make sure you take a breather and enjoy the fact that you got your words down on paper. Take as much or as little time as your need – a week, two or a month. You’ll know when you are ready to get back to work on it. Until then, let it rest. It isn’t going anywhere.

2. Before you ask other people to read your book, read it yourself. There is still so much work to do be done, do not waste others time by giving them a copy too early. By reading the draft yourself from start to finish, you will be able to highlight major weaknesses, editing needs or difficulties in the storyline that need to be rewritten.

3. Edit your work. This first editing pass should be to clean up any structural issues you noticed during your read through. Fix the storyline issues, add or remove scenes as necessary and improve the flow. Do not spend time worrying about typos or grammatical errors just yet, there will be plenty of time for that later.

4. Once you are finished editing, you will have your second draft. Now that you have a cleaner draft, it’s time for some outside perspective. You can ask trusted friends or family members to read the draft and provide feedback or can hire beta readers or a professional editor. Make sure to ask a group of individuals who will bring a wide range of perspectives and opinions as this will give you the most comprehensive critique.

5. Once your beta readers have provided feedback, it is time to take another editing pass through the book. If multiple readers have made a similar comment, it is probably best to make the recommended change.

6. After all the editing, rewriting, editing again and even more rewriting, you’ll have something close to a final version. Once you are satisfied with it, it is a good idea to have a proof-reader go through it one final time to make sure nothing was missed. These readers, such as those on YourFirstReview will provide a professional, unbiased book review along with a unique report card. This report card identifies the strengths and weaknesses of your book, giving you the ability to produce the strongest work possible.

Another important step for you as an author that can be done at any time during this process is to build a support network. Find a join a writing organization in your area and get involved in its activities. Not only will this improve your talent as a writer, it will connect you with other authors who can provide invaluable resources and advice.