You’ve Finished the Manuscript. Now What?

So you’ve managed to finish your manuscript. You’ve read and reread it fixing everything that is wrong with it. Now what?

Now would be a great time to back it up somewhere off your computer. Better yet, back it up to several somewheres. I can’t think of anything worse than to have your work finished only to watch it go away in a puff of smoke (maybe literally) if something goes wrong with your computer.

You have several choices, not the least of which is to print out a hard copy of the work. There are also USB flash drives available for little money, online backups through services like Google docs or Symantec backup and you can burn the story to CD or DVD.

Whatever you do, make sure you’ve got a copy or copies that you can fall back to. Oh yes, and make sure you test the backups. A backup of your document is only good if you can actually access it. Be sure to properly identify what version it is to (include date). If you do a lot of backups it can get very confusing.

Backup done? Great! Step 1 is now complete.

Step 2 is going to depend a lot on what you want to achieve with your story. Do you want to get it published or was it purely for your own entertainment that it was written? Or maybe you want to podcast it.

I’m going to assume that you want to see it published for the purposes of this discussion. If that is the case, do you know your market? I’m hoping you’ve already done some research into it prior to finishing (or starting) your story. The market will determine what you need in the first place.

Regardless, do more digging to identify where you are going to send your story. Record your ideal candidates and begin to prepare your submission package(s) based on what the candidates require.

Typically the submission package will include a few things:

1. Query letter

2. Synopsis

3. Sample chapters (usually the first two or three of your manuscript).

Once you have that all ready, it’s time to start sending your work out. Remember to pay attention to the submission guidelines about things like simultaneous submissions. Now it’s time to do that worst part of the process. Wait.

Remember to be realistic but hopeful.

That’s it. Good luck!

Personal Update

I’m am happy to say I finished my final edit this week. That means I’ve edited over 80,000 words since I left on holidays. A personal best!

I plan on sending it out once I’ve let my first readers take one last crack at the story. I also released my first piece of fiction (via podcast) last weekend. I hope you’ve all had a chance to listen and you’re sharpening your pencils with lots of comments for me.

That’s it for now. I hope you all are doing well.


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