The First Draft of Your Novel is Finished – Now What?

July 29, 2022

Your book is not done just because you typed The End. Now begins the hard work of taking your raw material and honing it into a page-turning story. This will mean several rounds of revisions, intense reading sessions, and submitting to editors and beta readers for additional input.

This work happens before you prepare the book for publication, especially if you are self-publishing your novel. Regardless of the route you choose, you’ll still need to prepare a marketing plan.

What are the steps you’ll need to take next?

Here are some ideas from my list:

Complete Chapter Outline if you’re doing one.

Finish and/or Revise Synopsis.

Prepare a One-Page Synopsis (required by some writing contests).

Write tag lines and log lines.

Search Royalty-Free Photo Sites for pictures that illustrate your Suspects. Purchase these photos. Use them to embellish your character descriptions, to Start a Pinterest Story Board, or for a DIY book trailer.

Hire Cover Artist and look for visuals for cover art.

Hire Blurb Writer.

Make critique group spot corrections.

Begin full read-throughs at least twice.

Double check list of Loose Ends to make sure all are resolved.

Send to professional editor.

Create reader discussion guide.

Write launch party posts.

Compose book trailer text and match photos. OR hire someone to do a trailer if desired.

Do edits from editor.

Do another full read-through for continuity.

Send to beta readers.

Make more corrections.

Assign ISBNs and prepare copyright page if self-publishing.

Send to formatter.

Read through pdf for final corrections.

Set Pub Date.

Book a Launch Party (See for examples of posts).

Book a Blog Tour.

Prepare Metadata, Book Descriptions (Long & Short), Author Bio.

Upload to online distributors.

Book NetGalley co-op dates.

Query reviewers and send arcs via BookFunnel.

Write a page of Tweets and FB Posts.

This may simplify the Revision phase and the subsequent Marketing push, but it gives a general outline of what needs to be done. Obviously, if you are traditionally publishing your work, some of these steps may be omitted.

You've Finished the First Draft of Your Novel - Now What? #amwriting #writetip Click To Tweet

For more tips, read these previous posts:
12 Steps for Revising Your Novel
Preparing for a Book Launch


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2 thoughts on “The First Draft of Your Novel is Finished – Now What?

  1. I’m like you, Nancy. I enjoy the editing process! You also have some good tips on the next steps. I just had to write a one page synopsis for my latest submission. That was worse than writing the whole book!

    1. Yes, the one-page synopsis is difficult, although I use a set format for a mystery – the setup, the suspects, and the resolution. My regular synopsis can run up to 20 pages.

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