As a writer it can be so hard to get to the point where you feel like you have completely finished your book. After spending so long working on it, creating the story and characters, rewriting, editing and re editing, it can become very hard to let go. Unfortunately for most writers, they never get that feeling of being finished and that they're ready to move on. So sometimes, instead of waiting for that feeling that may never come, you need to take the leap of faith and move on to the next step.
If you're at this point, here are some small indications that can help to let you know that you're finished and ready for the next step. You're changing minor and pointless details For example, splitting or joining paragraphs, changing synonyms or punctuation marks. Changes that aren't actually impacting or improving your story in anyway. The good news, if these are the only changes you're making, then even if you can't admit it, you are clearly happy with your book and have nothing you want to change. You're rewriting the same thing over and over If your 'self editing' consists of you just rewriting what's already there (you're not actually making any changes, just re typing what was already written), then you're not only finished with your book, but also wasting your time. Your ideas are already there When I come to the end of my writing/ self editing process, I can tell because when I'm going through my work, I'll get an idea to add something into my work and then realise further down that not only have I already had that idea, but I have already added it to my work as well. You can talk about it I find that when I am finished with a piece of work, I start getting the urge and confidence to tell people about it. I think subconsciously, I'm excited (and might go far enough to say that I'm proud of it too). And finally, You're thinking about the next stages Whether you're going down the traditional or self publishing route, you're starting to consider your options and next steps. Whether you're starting to look for editors or a cover designer or maybe even considering agencies and author letters. The fact that you're considering this means that you're at a point where you're acknowledging that your book is going to go somewhere. A lot of the time, writers spend time editing and re editing, changing minor details because it's scary. When you've spent a lot of time and effort writing a book that is full of characters and stories they have created, with a lot of them self in the book too, it can be incredibly difficult to move on to the next step. There's no easy way to do this, you just have to take the leap. The Next Steps There are so many options when it comes to publishing, but they boil down to two main routes. Self publishing and traditional publishing. There is no right or wrong way to publish your book, the choice is yours and both options have their benefits and challenges. Traditional Publishing In most cases for traditional publishing, you need to find an agent who will then offer your manuscript to different publishing houses. A great way to find an agent is through the Writer's and Artist's Year Book. This book is published every year and is a directory of all agents in the UK and some overseas. It offers information on how to submit your manuscript and the book is also full of valuable advice on sending your manuscript off. It's important to note that you're sending your work to agents that are interested in your type of book (genre/ fiction/ non fiction etc) as otherwise you'll not only be wasting your time but sending off your manuscript to EVERYONE is a good way to get blacklisted. The most effective way to submit is, each time you submit to an agent, you've researched the agency and agent you're submitting to. Making sure you're appropriate for each other and finally building an author letter that has been written FOR THEM and not one you've just written to send to any other agent.
Once you have found an agent and they have found a publisher, the process of creating your book is mostly taken out of your hands. Self Publishing There are so many options and so much freedom in self publishing. One of the challenges as an author is that you have a lot more work to do than just writing the book. You need to either find someone to edit/market/ typeset/ cover etc your book or do it yourself. This can be expensive, but it's definelty something you should consider as after you have spent so much time writing your book, you want to make sure it's being published to its best quality. There are a lot of agencies around that actually help to self publish your book, however it's important to do your research to ensure you're trusting your book with a legit agency. As much as in publishing, 'we hate Amazon' it's such a great tool for self publishers. It offers services that help you publish your book in print and digitally. It's also a brand that you know you can trust.
All in all and in conclusion, if you're reading this blog post... YOU'RE FINISHED, SO LET'S MOVE ON! P.s Sophie's Proof is here for you in all your editing needs ;)