Sunday, October 27, 2013

Life After #NaNoWriMo #IamWriting #author #publishing

It's the time of year again. The week before National Novel Writing Month begins. Are you ready for this amazing writing journey? I believe I am.

National Novel Writing Month happens every November. The goal is to write 50,000 words or more. The end result would be the 1st draft of a complete novel. I stress the 1st draft part because a lot of new authors assume that once they have completed their novel it is ready to submit to publisher.

That is not true.

You looked stunned and confused. Stay with me now.

The first draft you hold in your hand is not large enough to be considered a complete novel. It will grow as you go through the editing process. That's ok. An average novel is anywhere between 80,000 to 100,000 words. Anything above 100,000 words is considered an epic. Most publishers will not consider an epic from any new authors. They want to ensure the authors have enough followers to produce sales.

The first thing you want to do is read through your manuscript very carefully. You're looking for plot holes, grammatical errors and structural issues. National Novel Writing Month does not allow you the opportunity to edit as you go through the writing process. And that is ok. The main goal of NaNoWriMo is to get the story out. You can edit later.

Another piece of advice while you are editing your work. Don't worry if your story changes along the way. As long as the story stays true to the outline or paradigm you created before you wrote a single word then it will be alright. If you have more than one character with the same motive, mannerisms or purpose in your book consider combining the two characters into one character. You want to make sure it is very evident who your protagonist and antagonists are. There should be only one of each in your story.

After you have edited your piece you will need to send it out to a few beta readers. Beta readers are
people who love to read books in your genre. They will tell you what works and what doesn't. They are not editors and please do not treat them as such. These are readers who will tell you if they think your book will sell in your genre and why not. You do not want to pick just anyone to beta read your book. You want to make sure the people you chose to beta your book are people who are very familiar with the genre and are willing to be brutally honest with you.

Once you receive the notes from your beta reader you will want to go over their notes and implement any changes they have suggested that will better your story.

Well a month or two have gone by since NaNoWriMo occurred and you are done with the beta readers. You now have your completed second draft but your still not ready for publishing. What's next? An editor. You need fresh eyes on your masterpiece. Find a friend who is great at editing or hire a professional editor to go through your manuscript. WARNING - professional editors will charge between $1-$5 per page to edit your manuscript.

After you receive your edits back from the editor you will want make the changes they have suggested for your manuscript. Afterwards, go back through your manuscript and tighten it up. By the time you have finished this process your novel should now be between 80,000 - 100,000 words and you are ready to submit your novel to the publisher.

Good luck on NaNoWriMo this year.

I'm ready. Are you?


  1. LOL. Truth? I think all you NaNoers are nuts. But I'm also envious that you have the fortitude and energy to try. Happy NaNo and IWSG.

    1. Thank you, Joylene. It's a crazy ride but I really enjoy it.

  2. But the refinement is always worth it, good luck to all the NaNoers :)