What’s Next? Wrapping Up NaNoWriMo 2016
Whether you won or didn’t win NaNoWriMo a couple days ago, you are further today than you were when November started. Some of you finished your novel, some of you met your 50K goal and still need to finish, some of you didn’t get nearly as much done as you’d hoped. No matter where your story now sits, these next steps apply to all of you.
Do not make the mistake I did every year. You’ve probably heard that you should put your November project away for a few weeks and come back in January for edits and revision.
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DO NOT FOLLOW THIS ADVICE! DO NOT!
Maybe take a step back for a couple of days, but do not back off for a whole month. You’ll lose the crazy momentum gained during November. Those daily writing goals you set for NaNo should now be a regular part of your day. No, you don’t need the crazy intensity anymore, but you should still set the time aside.
So, you’ve got a shiny new story. What’s to do now, besides celebrate (because you should ALWAYS celebrate!)
- Make quote images from some of your favorite lines in the book. Use these to promote your book long before you even finish it. (This also helps you stay motivated to finish it!)
- If you need to finish the story, keep writing. Don’t stop and begin something new, just keep going. The hardest part is the middle, so once you get past that, it’s just a course to the end. (So I’ve heard. I personally struggle with middles and drawn out endings.)
- Start with Chapter 1. This might be the ONLY chapter in your story, and that’s okay. You’ll figure out as you go where it should stop. Remember, all chapters do not need to be the same length. Set a goal to edit x number of pages a day, a realistic one, and set aside the time to do it, just like you did for NaNo.
- Start considering your cover design. Even if you have to hire someone else to do it, you should have an idea of what you like.
- Build your author platform. Not sure what this means? You definitely have work to do. You want to get your name out there long before the first book is released. Expect to give yourself a good six months to do appropriate marketing, and this is a good thing to do AFTER you’ve finished the book and queried publishing houses.
- Find your alpha. Start looking for betas.
- Listen to what your readers tell you.
- Edit and revise as needed. Polish that work up.
- Get your final product up to submission standards (most publishers have the same requirements) and begin your hunt for publishing.
- Breathe! You did it! YOU FINISHED A BOOK! Congratulate yourself, treat yourself to something special. Celebrate!