Updated: Dec 31, 2019
UPDATED OCT. 8TH, 2017.
You just finished your book! WOW! YIPPEE! Pat yourself on the back. Make a drink, (check out one of my recipes, tons more on my Pinterest page) and celebrate. Take a break from your manuscript. Set it aside; I recommend for a minimum of two weeks, you really should set it aside for at least a month, or more.
You'll be tempted to start sending it out to everyone in your contact list. DO NOT DO THIS. This is a draft. Your first draft to say the least. If you have that one friend, who promised to read your book for you and give you an honest opinion. DON'T SEND THIS VERSION.
You're going to edit this, hopefully, a minimum of five times before you pay for an editor to edit it for you. Then you can send that professionally edited version to your friend. If you send this 1st draft, then you send your friend four more versions, your friend will hate you and your book.
I did this to my poor husband. I made him read my first book so many times, he wanted to divorce me, but I would've made him take the kids (they are teenagers), so he just doesn't read my books until they’re finished. Sometimes not even then because I run through everything with him. I annoy the hell out of him, basically. But I provide him with sex, so he has to suffer. He isn't rich enough to divorce me, so he can't go anywhere. Plus, like I said, he would have to take the kids. I love them, but they are teenagers and I refuse to live with them by myself.
If you are serious about trying to write your first book, you should think about purchasing some of the editing software that is out there. I am not a grammar expert. (I'm sure someone is finding mistakes in these posts, Bite Me!) I use Grammarly and Smart-Edit. These aren't too expensive, and they work for me. For a final editing tool I use WordRake. But look around and find ones that work for you.
Just don't rely solely on the stock spell checker in your computer. I also use the Hemingway App. I use this at the end of my final draft before my manuscript goes to my editor. Follow the link to their website and they can better explain it than I can. Its odd but it gives you a great idea of the content flow of your manuscript.
Remember this, nothing beats the eyes of a real person. You will need to spend the money on an editor. Start saving now. This is where most of your money will go.
A lot of people use Scrivener; I could never get into it. Okay, that's not true. I am a complete tard when it comes to Scrivener, and to be honest, I don't have the time or the desire to learn it. I mean for crying out loud, could you have made it even remotely easier to use? Instead, I use Evernote. This is just so easy for me. I have the extension on all my browsers and when I am searching the web for blog ideas I just use the clipping tool and save it. For some reason this is just such an easier tool than Scrivener. Here is a great artilcle on using Evernote, by Christopher Gronlund.
Whenever I tried to use Scrivener, I felt like an idiot. My 14-year-old daughter has already decimated my self-esteem. (According to her I know nothing, and I am so old, that what I do know is no longer relevant.) There's Learn Scrivener Fast. That may help you. My brain is wired differently. But those who use it swear by it. I choose, like i said, to use Evernote. For me it is simple and does what I need. Check out these posts to get a better understanding of using Evernote: How To Use Evernote For Writing Fiction by Walter Glenn. Why You Should Use Evernote To Write Your Next Book by Robert Wood. How Great Writers Use Evernote: Best Selling Author Jeff Goins.
Use the time away from your 1st draft to read about editing, Showing vs. Telling, grammar and anything else you need help with. When you come back to review your manuscript, you'll see mistakes you didn't notice before.
I suggest you also start going to writing conferences. This is a great way to meet other writers and people in the industry. And most established writers or those who provide a service like editors, want to help other writers succeed.
For example, at my first writing conference, I had just finished Innocence Taken. I had no idea if it was even remotely good or if I should give up and find something else to occupy all of my time. So while I was at that conference, I met a few editors. I asked them if I could send them three chapters of my book and if they would tell me what they see as editors that I could fix. They all said yes, and I sent them each three different chapters.
It was great. I got some excellent feedback that set me in the right direction to learn some things before I did anything else with my book. It paid off, and it didn't cost me a dime. Get into a writers group. Search Google for some in your area. I found mine on Meetup.
Don't be afraid to ask for help. Most will help you and give you direction. Those that are asses just trip them when they walk by. (Just kidding don't do that unless you can make it look like an accident.)
Even those famous authors started out exactly where you and I are starting out. Ask for help. People in the writing industry are some of the most helpful people. They genuinely want to help other writers.
It's still scary, I'm not gonna lie. That is one reason I drink whiskey. After a nice glass of whiskey, there isn't too much that scares me. Except for an empty glass of whiskey.
Now GO WRITE!
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I write crime fiction horror, thriller, and paranormal novels. My time in the Coast Guard and my degree in Forensic Chemistry helps me create fantastic stories.
If I'm not writing, I am binge watching Netflix and probably drinking whiskey.