You’ve made it this far. You’ve been diligent and hardworking through each of the six steps. So, now it’s time to sit back and wait for the book offers to roll in. Or not. Most likely, after you take a break, you’ll need to go back to step #1 and start all over again.
In case you forgot, here are the 7 steps in “How to Make Your Novel Sellable”:
- Initial Read Through
- Seek and Destroy Problem Words
- In-depth Word Analysis
- Read it Out
- Get Some Feedback
- Let it Rest
Step #7: Repeat!
Even if you don’t feel it necessary to go through all six steps again, you won’t know that for certain until you at least go through step #1 again. Make sure you do step #6 and take time away from it, first, though. You’ll need that perspective to make sure the book really is ready to go out (or isn’t).
Take the time to consider honestly whether or not you think the book is polished enough to shop it (or pub it). It’s very tempting to rush. You’ve worked so hard and for so long that you just want to see something happen. Do. Not. Rush. It!
Once you send it out, you can’t get it back. Once you send it to an agent, they won’t want to see it again after they reject it (even if you’ve made significant changes). If you decide to self-publish, you can’t pull back the copies people have downloaded to fix embarrassing mistakes.
This is a great time to hire a professional. I know this can get pricey, but it’s an investment in your book and in your future. Get your novel as absolutely perfect as you can make it doing these steps. Then pay someone to make sure. You owe it to your book and your future career to put out the very best book you can.
It might take as many as 30—THIRTY—rounds of editing to get your book ready. And that’s according to authors Claire Keegan and Carlo Gébler. I’ve heard of authors spending years editing one book. A novel is a work of art. Give the paint time to dry, let the clay fully bake. Knowing whether or not your book is through percolating is part of learning the art of the craft. Sadly, I see too many people push it forward in hopes of turning a buck. Take the time to make the book good and it’ll pay much better than something that shouldn’t have hit the shelves until you passed over it a few more times.
There are multiple blogs out there that offer first page or first X number of words reviews and critiques. Submit your story to some of those and see what the pros say. This is especially important if you’re self-publishing and won’t have an agent and editor to work with at some point. Again, sooo important that you hire a professional editor if you’re self-publishing. And get the package that does it all—line edits, plot and character critiques, proofreading. (And somewhat off topic, PAY BIG MONEY to have a professional cover designed. This is your product’s package, and all clichés aside, EVERYONE judges a book by its cover.)
When you do send it out to agents, start small. See what feedback, if any, you get from them. Make any suggested changes, then query a bunch more. If you send too many queries at a time before you get any feedback, you just lost possible agents.
Your next step once your book is polished: the query letter. And you thought writing and editing was tough!