You Wrote A Book, Now What? – Our Write Side

So you wrote a book…

If you’re like most writers, when you finish a book, you want to get published. This is when the nail-biting starts. However, there are steps you need to take to ensure you present your story in its best possible light. As a seven time published author, I’m going to share some secrets with you.

Yay! It’s Done!

Congratulations. You sealed the deal, wrote the last word, and signed off with a smile. Go celebrate! This is a huge accomplishment! Seriously!

Celebrate now, because there is still a lot of work to do. #amwriting #writingtips #ourwriteside… Click To Tweet

Once you’ve celebrated, you should wait a few days, a week, a month at max before opening your novel again.

Kill Your Darlings

The first step after finishing a novel is to go back through and edit. Yes, you CAN do this on your own. Yes, you should have someone else do it, too. The best way to self edit is to utilize a tool like ProWritingAid (a pretty thorough one if you ask me!). You want to find those typos, fragmented sentences, run-ons, grammar errors. You want to fix your punctuation, check your plot line, and most of all, kill your darlings—all those excess words and side plots that really do nothing for your story.

If it doesn’t help further your story or hold some importance, cut it out. #amediting #novel… Click To Tweet

It hurts, it really does. I get it, but it is a necessary evil. It’s like going on a diet and trimming the fat. It will be better for your story in the end. You will have a lean, mean, imagination making machine.

Four, Six, Eight, Ten: Extra eyes

Now that you’ve trimmed the fat, you need to get outside opinions. Let your mom read it, but also send it to someone who loves your genre, will be honest with you, and knows something about writing. Send along some questions to guide your beta readers as they go along. Note: Your beta readers are not editors. Their job is to read your story for consistency, find holes in your story, and educate you on what may need improvement as well as what they really liked. Finding the right beta readers is very important. You’re not going to get the same response from someone who doesn’t care for your genre as you would from someone who does. Plus, someone familiar with your genre is going to make better calls. Can you really help someone fix a science fiction novel about zombies if you don’t like zombies or science fiction? Probably not. You get the point now.

As for the kinds of things you should have a beta reader look for, I’ve included this Beta Reader Checklist you can download for free. Basically, you want to know about plot holes, character development, consistency, and so on. You may get more honest responses if you offer the opportunity for anonymity.

Snip, snip, snip

I know, I know. You already did this. However, now that you’ve gotten your beta reading feedback, you have to do it again. This is called your third draft. This is when you polish it and make it shine before you send it off to an editor.

But I can’t afford to pay an editor!

I hear you! They are expensive! I’ll fill you in on a little secret. This is one reason joining a writing community is important. Someone in your circle is a grammar cop. Trading stories goes a long way sometimes.

But I don’t have a writing community I trust.

Oh man, that’s sad. Well, Our Write Side is here. We understand the pain of needing to get your book out there but lacking the funds to do it like everyone else. We know you shouldn’t have to risk quality because you lack finances. Do your research. Ask for sample edits, find someone you can afford with the quality you expect, or find an editing tool that edits like a professional. This is very important, because it will make an impact on how a potential publisher or agent views your work.


The next stage is to submit your novel. Rejection is normal. Remember even Harry Potter got rejected 13 times. The important thing here is to understand publishers. You should NEVER have to pay anything up front to a publisher. Any publisher worth their salt will offer you a contract with royalties that include everything you need to market your book from the cover design to final edits, to print and distribution. The big thing here is that you can’t expect to get rich off this. There’s a lot more involved to making your book sell than just handing it to your publisher. Many small presses don’t have the facilities and finances to cover marketing expenses, so you will have to do some of the legwork on your own. I’ve listed a few things below to help you start marketing your book (and you!) that you can start doing before you even find a publisher:

  • Build an author platform
  • Create your author media kit
  • Create an author page/website
  • Increase your readership:
    • Write guest posts
    • Submit other work to magazines, lit journals, etc
    • Participate in writing prompts
    • Join a writing community, mingle, communicate
    • Make social media work for you. Have an account in every outlet and organize a system for visiting them all. Seek out other authors, publishers, and most importantly, readers.
  • Host a book release event
  • Offer a giveaway through Goodreads, Amazon, etc.
  • Host book blog tours on your author site
  • Engage in book reviews
  • Join book review sites that have a proven history of quality reviews

There is so much more you can do after you write that last word. Get started today in building your author platform, marketing yourself, and most importantly, KEEP WRITING. Ask us how we can help you get your name and your books out there.

Need help getting your name out there? We can help! #author #promotion #writing #advice Click To Tweet

Our Write Side is currently open for submissions. We accept short stories, guest articles, chapters, book excerpts, and just about anything. Send us your work today!

CEO at Our Write Side/OWS Ink, LLC Stephanie Ayers is a full-time world-building ninja, seven-time published author, and graphic designer enjoying the country life in central Virginia, while crafting her own story and resisting growing up at all costs. She mothers her children, loves her husband, attends church, and avoids all things zombies.