Saturday, June 11, 2011

You've Written A Novel! So... Now What?

After you’ve written your novel and once it’s been through the wringer with your trusted critique partners, you might think it’s time to query, but there’s something you should do first. Many writers find it helpful to give their completed novels to a few beta readers for overall feedback. This is especially helpful if their critique partners have been reading chapters along the way. A pair of fresh eyes can make all the difference in making a novel query-ready.

But, for months you’ve been writing and editing your novel. Now that it’s truly complete, it might feel like you’re stuck in limbo... what do you do while you wait for beta readers to get back to you, and before you begin querying?

1. Start another novel. Really? I don’t deserve even a small break after all that hard work?
Some writers have stories churning incessantly in their minds, and starting a new story is a kind of relief after spending so long on the same story. Other writers need a break to keep from burning out. Go with what feels natural, and don’t force the next story too soon if that isn’t your style.

2. Read. Ahh books... it's why we write!
Often in the frenzy of completing a manuscript, we don’t make time to feed the muse. Nestle down for a few hours and enjoy the latest book everyone’s talking about, or pick up an old favorite.

3. Reconnect. Oh? There's a world going on outside my head?
Sometimes we can become so immersed in our stories, especially as we near the finish line, that we lose touch with friends and loved ones. Now is a good time to step out of the writer cave and see what’s been going on in the world.

4. Play. All work and no play makes Jack a dull writer.
With your book finished you can take a breather and do some things you like outside of writing. Enjoy some guilt-free time with your favorite hobby, or try something new. Who knows, it could inspire another novel.

5. Research. The fun kind-- agent research!
Once you received feedback from your beta-readers, the time for querying will finally arrive. Double-check that the agents you plan to query are all still accepting submissions in your genre, and that they haven’t changed email addresses.

6. Prepare. The dreaded query letter.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to write your query letter and synopsis. Your critique partners probably know your story inside and out, so ask if they’d be willing to look over your query and synopsis to make it the best it can be.

7. Celebrate! You wrote a book!
No matter what happens, you finished your novel! Not every writer makes it to this milestone, and certainly not most of the population. It's a big accomplishment! Take a moment to appreciate the achievement of your work; remember that first day when you sat down with nothing but a blank page before you, and think of how far you’ve come.
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Diana Paz is a web content writer and aspiring YA author. She was born in Costa Rica, grew up on Miami Beach, moved to Los Angeles in high school, and went to college in San Diego. Basically, she's a beach bum, but she did graduate from California State University, San Marcos with a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts. She loves old movies, epic fantasy, all kinds of music, and heading to the beach with a good book. Preferably sipping a caramel frappuccino. Find her at her or on Twitter @dianapazwrites


  1. Love this list! I totally agree with all of it. Now to choose which one... I'm in the same boat as you, just finished! <3

  2. I tend to forget to celebrate after finishing a manuscript, I'm always thinking ahead to what I have to next. This is a wonderful list of what to do to take a breather after months of writing. :D

  3. Such an excellent list, Di! I wholeheartedly agree with #7--milestones should always be celebrated!