4 Things Every Writer Must Do Before Publishing

Posted by Kristen Hamilton on March 24, 2013 at 4:15 PM

You've finally finished writing your novel what?

The writing process can be arduous and long, but fun. After starting with an idea, you develop your idea into an outline, an outline into a plot, and a plot into a fully functional novel. Success! Though the writing process may have taken months to complete, it's your love of writing and desire to see your published novel on the shelves at Barnes & Noble that keep you going. You may be antsy to submit your manuscript to various publishing companies, but there is a checklist of several necessary steps to complete before submitting your novel for publication.

1. Revise, rewrite, and self edit. 

Go over your entire manuscript until it's the best you can get it. Be aware of any punctuation or spelling errors, any confusing passages, or any superfluous words.

2. Submit it to your critique group. 

If you're a serious writer like me, you should be a member of a critique group in your genre. Meetup is a great way to meet writing groups in your local area (I belong to two groups in my area!), and if you'd rather participate electronically, there are plenty of online writing critique groups. I'd recommend Scribophile; it's a large and helpful writing community.

3. Revise again. 

Review your story once more, keeping in mind the critiques you received from your group. Take everything with a grain of salt. If several people mention one specific issue, it's time for a change. On the other hand, if one person doesn't like a character's name, consider it and use your discretion.

4. Submit your manuscript for professional editing. 

You may wonder why you should hire a professional after having so many friends look at it. You (the author) and your critique group are no match for the expert eyes of a professional editor. While you may have spent months or years honing your writing skills, those skills simply are not the same as editing skills. Are you sure you've caught all the punctuation errors? How about dangling participles or gerunds? You need to take that extra step to polish your manuscript and hire an editor. Yes, you really need an editor. :)

Once you have completed the above checklist, submit for publication! It's usually best to submit to several companies to increase your chances of being published. Once published, your months or years of writing will finally pay off in the form of handsome royalties checks. Good luck!

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Book editor Kristen Hamilton is the owner and sole employee of

Kristen Corrects, Inc., where she provides manuscript editing

services for traditionally and self-publishing authors. Several

authors whose books she has edited have won awards and have

topped Amazon's best sellers lists.

Reading is Kristen's passion, so when the workday is over, she

can usually be found curled up with a good book alongside her

four cats. She loves watching cat videos and scary movies,

eating pizza, teaching herself French, and traveling, and she is

likely planning her next vacation. She lives outside of Boise, ID.

Categories: author business

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