My Take on Writing Part 7: Beyond The Manuscript

Okay. So last post, I said I’d do a post on the cleanup. Well, I’ve decided instead to take a look at what happens beyond the finished manuscript because to many, including myself, that can be the most daunting. As a writer, I can fully understand why. We novelists and non-fiction writers invest a lot of ourselves in our work. It’s not surprising. After all, it can take hours, weeks, months, and maybe even years to craft a manuscript, depending on its length and our other obligations. Also, we writers pour our hearts into our work as well. Most likely, we’ve also sacrificed something: Tiem with our families, free time for other activities, or (heaven forbid) relationships.

Once we have something finished, what do we do about it? Should I, as a writer, just stop there, maybe show it to family or a few friends, and put it on the shelf? That’s the easiest. As a writer, it’s easy to say that I drafted the perfect American novel, but if it never gets published, then what? No, the easy way isn’t necessarily the best way. Instead, I encourage you to begin getting your novel out there. Below are some more points written from the viewpoint of someone who writes fiction. For non-fiction writers, many of these are applicable as well.

Decide what kind of publishing you would like to do. Do you want to self publish? Utilize a print-on-demand publisher? Got the full-service publishing route? Each has its own pluses and minuses. I’d considered each, and after much thought an prayer, I decided to send queries out via the full-service publishing route. Why? I felt that was the way God was calling me. Additionally, some sage advice from an established author helped. She said, “If you are telling a good story, your work will eventually sell.” Additionally, consider where your work might best be suited. Some things, maybe a compilation of family letters, might be more suited to self publishing or print-on-demand publishing. Whichever way you go, bathe your plans in prayer.

Learn the process. Even if you decide to go the self-publishing route or print-on-demand publishing route, it’s still good to learn the process of getting your work out there. Check with your local community college or a writers’ group to see what classes may be offered that teach the marketing process of writing.

Follow your heart. As with any pursuit, there will always be those who think that they know what’s best for you and will be naysayers in your pursuits. My suggestion is to not listen to them and follow your heart instead. Listen to those of you who are close to you and have your best interests at heart, but filter out those who are more on your periphery.

Enjoy it. Writing is an adventure. It spurs the imagination. It brings us life. So embrace it and enjoy it. Who knows? I might see your book or article in print sometime in the future.

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