by Lynda Rees, Award Winning Author
For the most part writing is a solitary business. We spend countless hours pouring our hearts out to a keyboard because we have much to say and a desperate need to tell the story. It takes guts to begin and even more to finish a piece of work. It’s important as a writer that we acknowledge the successes along the way.
As you type THE END, take the time to celebrate. It doesn’t matter how you choose to do it, only that you do. Have a cappuccino or glass of wine. Buy a new pair of shoes or dress. Go on a cruise—whatever you want to do and can afford to mark the occasion in some meaningful fashion. Pat yourself on the back. Your accomplishment is noteworthy.
Now comes the hard part. The re-read and/or rewrite and the editing process are brutal but necessary steps to perfecting our work to make it reader-worthy. Take a long, hard, unbiased look at your manuscript, and do a thorough edit. Take out redundancies. Fix grammar errors. Remove “edit-out words.” (If you want a copy of my edit-out word list, email me. I’m happy to share it. firstname.lastname@example.org)
Then re-read it again to find holes where you can boost emotion. Check POV. Ensure there are no inconsistencies and no confusion. Make sure everything makes sense and all loose ends are tied up.
It’s perfect now. Right?
Wrong. As hard as you are on yourself and try to see it through the eyes of a reader, there’s no way you can be completely objective. This is your baby we’re talking about. You gave birth to this work. This is where you need to engage beta readers and/or a trusted group of critique partners. Ask them to read and provide constructive criticism. It may hurt at times, but it’s a gift when done with tact and a helpful frame of mind. Once you have their feedback make necessary changes.
Now it’s time to engage a professional editor. Don’t try to skip this stage. Depending on who you use, it can be expensive. In the long run it’s worth every penny. Take the editor’s advice. After all, you hired this professional and trusted them with your creation. An editor knows what will make it print-ready or submit-able and saleable.
It’s finally time to submit your finished manuscript. This is where your work description changes. Until now you’ve been a writer. Now you need to sell your work. There are different ways to do that, either in traditional publishing through and agent or direct to a publisher who accepts submissions from authors. Most require agent submissions only, and some only look at recommended works. You can sell to a small-press publication. Or you can self-publish your work. Take the time to weigh pros and cons of each publishing method, then go to work at your new job—book sales person.
Lynda Rees was born in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky. She is an award-winning Novelist. The author of “God Father’s Day;” “Madam Mom;” “Parsley, Sage, Rose, Mary & Wine;” and several others in The Bloodline Series of horse country-Kentucky suspense novels. Her latest is “The Bloodline Trail.” Her books can be found at http://amazon.com/author/lyndareesMadam Mom.