Rewriting & Publishing

After NaNoWriMo, What Next?

You've jacked, full of adrenaline! You've just pumped out the Great American Novel in one month, because you're a NaNoWriMoNaut. Now what? How do you go from manuscript to book in hand?

If you believe the manuscript is in salable form right now, you can try for an agent or commercial publisher. Typically, before a book goes this route, the author (or in this case, the editor [you]) will thoroughly edit the project, often getting assistance from outside or even professional readers. Then the author will often get feedback on the finished product. This feedback should be from sources other than friends and family.

Once the project is the best it can be based on feedback and edits, then you look for an agent or commercial publisher. Some commercial publishers accept unagented work, some do not. You can find publishers that may be a good match by using Writer's Market, a reference source that is available in most public libraries and can be purchased at many book stores. Usually a publisher will want to see your first 1-3 chapters, a synopsis and a marketing plan. However, refer to the publisher's guidelines. Writer's Market and other sources can help you put together a synopsis, effective cover letter, and possibly a marketing plan. (Publishers will want you to take an active role in making sure the book sells.)

Some choose to get an agent. Agents are very picky about the projects they take on. They must believe the book will sell big. In that respect, they're as picky as publishers. Agents will charge you only for incidental fees (postage, photocopying). They make their money off of selling your work. Standard commission is 15%.

If the project has a very small niche audience or is a pet project that friends and family might enjoy but would have limited appeal beyond that, or if you don't have the patience for the world of commercial publishing, you can always self-publish. Stay away from vanity presses like iUniverse, Xlibris, AuthorHouse. Instead, try a low overhead printer like CreateSpace. You do all the set-up work, but your final book cost for a professional-looking product will be about $3.50 per book, and there's no minimum number to order. If you want larger runs with hard cover, consider InstantPublisher.

Rewriting is Love

Some people love writing but hate rewriting. That's like loving childbirth but hating raising one's children. Rewriting gives you the opportunity to really develop and polish the product. The author can right obvious wrongs, like spelling and punctuation errors, but the real real fun is that it gives the writer a chance to take pedestrian prose and make it distinctive, even beautiful.

Backstory can be added or embellished. Dialogue can be examined in order to be made more authentic. Word choice can be scrutinized.

Nothing is more fulfilling than looking at a piece of writing in its fourth or fifth generation and saying, "That's much better."

This is also the make or break area which determines whether or not a piece is publishable. Skimp on rewriting, and editors will be turned off by common proofing errors or cliche dialogue. Of course, we live in an age when ANYONE can be published, due to the boom in vanity presses. However, simply printing a book does not give one a book worth reading. Even in the commercial press, 93% of published books sell fewer than 100 copies. Writing that EARNS readership requires that extra investment.

Nurture your fondness for rewriting. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the results.


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Latest comments

07.06 | 21:36

This is my first twitter sign up. I am sure I will be wowed by your intellect. Twitter away.

04.08 | 17:44

Hi mr rod vick,
Thanks so much for the books and the free book i finished them all, and they were all so good. THANK YOU

14.10 | 21:58

You my friend, are blessed! You have put such a positive spin on what could have been a terrible tale. You must have good work yet to do in this world.

09.10 | 11:00

Other than moving to Muk-town, how can I get you to be my son's teacher?

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