Finishing your first draft is a major milestone, and here are your next six steps in your quest to publish a novel.
You’ve finished writing the first draft of your novel, but there’s still quite a distance to travel between having a finished manuscript and a published book.
What you decide to do with your manuscript from here on out will have a huge impact on both the size of your readership and your book’s reception.
So, how do you publish a novel? What DO you do with the finished draft?
1. Ask yourself if you’re really finished
Reread your novel all the way through as if someone else wrote the book. Make notes. Circulate your manuscript among trusted writers, teachers, mentors, or online forums (the NaNoWriMo forums, Skypen, World Literary Cafe, You Write On, Authonomy, etc.) and solicit feedback. Revise accordingly. Then…
2. Hire a professional editor
The best writers in the world still work with editors. It’s an essential part of the publishing process, no matter how good your manuscript. Whether you’re in need of developmental editing, copy editing, or just proofreading — you want to use a professional.
Check out “What kind of book editing do I need for my manuscript?” to figure out exactly what your book requires at this point. If you don’t have an existing relationship with an editor, visit FirstEditing.com.
3. Start doing your publication prep-work
You’ll need to prepare a few things before you go ahead and publish a book, including:
You might also want to consider printing galleys and sending them out to services such as Kirkus Indie for early review. It always helps to have some quotes from book reviewers to feature on the back of your book, as well as on your website and press materials.
4. Start marketing
You need to think about marketing well in advance of your publication date. In fact, many of these steps can be taken while you’re still writing and editing your book:
- Set up a professional author website
- Finalize your author bio
- Take a great author photo
- Create a press page on your website that has hi-res images of your book cover, your author photo, bio, press release, etc.
- Shoot a book trailer
- Write content for your website or for other blogs that boosts your online presence and establishes your credibility and voice
Also, consider running a Goodreads giveaway before your book release in order to build anticipation and increase your chances for additional reader-generated reviews.
5. Publish it!
6: Promote your book
Your book is available for purchase. Now it’s time to let people know where and WHY they should buy it. Here are a few ideas:
- Promote your book on an indie budget with these 20 thrifty ways to get your book out there.
- Promote your book with social media, and be sure to follow these 10 social media rules for authors.
- Plan your own virtual book tour, including stops at various book blogs, publishing industry websites, podcasts, radio shows, and more.
- Plan an actual book tour.
- Seek out more reviews for your book from bloggers, book critics, and more.
- Explore a few of these book launch strategies.
If you’ve checked all these items off your list, way to go! Now it’s time to host a book launch party to celebrate your accomplishments and thank your readers, family, and friends for their support.
Images via ShutterStock.com.