So I Finished Editing my Final Draft. Now What?

Me, circa 2012

Me, circa 2012

On this blog, I try to mark out my journey to adulthood publication. Each milestone, while important (I had a glass of wine to celebrate two days ago), isn’t the end result. It is the next step conquered. If I were to stop here, I’d be woefully failing the process. What is The Process, and where am I in said process?


  1. Research, lay out, study
  2. Write
  3. Edit
  4. Wait
  5. Edit
  6. Rewrite (this can go on for eternity)
  7. Hire an editor (to break your rewrite/editing slump)
  8. Make appropriate corrections
  9. Beta Readers/support from tissue box
  10. Get cover art
  11. Get book blurb
  12. Get layout finished, pic of self on back cover looking snazzy
  13. Get ebook layout finished (NOT THE SAME AS BOOK LAYOUT)
  14. Order samples to verify it looks good, check details (if doing physical pub)
  15. Make any last minute changes, verify existence of UPC, placed properly
  16. Verify online sales options available
  17. Set release date (if you haven’t already)
  18. Release
  19. Market, Advertise, Guest Blog (if possible), hire a lawyer, sign the movie rights with lawyer, go onto Letterman, sign autographs
  20. Enjoy the billions of new income dollars (kidding)

I have several (three) books beyond step 4. In the past, I’ve got to the “wait” stage of a finished novel, and let the book sit, and move on to something else. After a year, I come back and realize the book is weak, my writing ability is whoa different, and I don’t like it at all. In order to save the thing, I’d have to rewrite all of it, and I simply didn’t care. Which is fine. It falls under “practice,” and I feel everyone–EVERYONE–needs to go through this process (Paolini. I’m looking at you).

This novel took me six years to get to this point. Six. Mostly because of the day job, partially because of the addition of Diabetes in my life. But six years. Going on seven. It was my “experiment and improve” novel. I rewrote it, in entirety, no less than three times. Let me spell this out. Numbers 2 through 6 were repeated three times. This list would be annoyingly long if I included all those steps. It was my baby. It’s a book in a genre I have a difficulty writing. This book took SO MUCH research it’s terrifying to think about, now. And hands-on learning.

The novel I wrote after this one? One shot, written and done, waiting for funds for number 7. I improved as a writer. Fundamentally. So what I’m saying is: everyone’s process is different. I have to make this abundantly clear. What currently works for me might not work for you at all (and might not work for me later). This is a fluid process.

So. I have a product I love, am in love with, and I’ve hired an editor. He read, gave me corrections, and I corrected accordingly. Now what?

More input. Period. I need more input. I need others telling me it sucks, what sucks, how it sucks, so I can go back and smooth the cowlick. Or scrap it. Still a possibility. I’ve literally read the same words so many times, know the story so far inside and out, I will miss absolutely everything that’s wrong with it (unless I wait another year to forget). So beta readers are very important. A second editor, possibly, is important. I can’t reinforce how important it is to have trustworthy people to read your work. Even one! One person, average Jimmy Joe, who enjoys YOUR genre, reading it will be angel choirs singing when he says, “Dude. Chapter three. The back and forth between these two characters is dull and so see-through it’s insane. I hate it. I wanted to put the book down immediately.” Or “That chick sucks.” Boom.

Everyone has his own opinion of what’s good and gold and what’s bad. Take it with the ketchup on your steak. But it helps. Even if you look at the same stuff he does and say, “You know what? I like it. I disagree.” Why? It reinforces the awesomeness that is your book.

Note: You can also be pursuing cover art throughout the process, or book blurb, or shiny glamor pic of yourself. You can have the layout finished by the time you pen the final word to screen via Scrivener or other programs. The more I do this, I know, the more I’ll understand the process, and the quicker I’ll finish it.

SO! I’m on steps 9 and 10. I have a few readers. If anyone else is interested in a read, I might be inclined to share.

I also need cover art. While I’m a gifted photographer, and have found a few pictures that might fit, I’m also considering my other options. If anyone reading this is artistically inclined, or a graphic artist, or knows someone in said field, I’d love to know about it. It is possible I can employ him or her for the cover.

Hope you are enjoying your journey as much as I am. Have an awesome Autumn weekend.


4 thoughts on “So I Finished Editing my Final Draft. Now What?

  1. I’m still having some difficulty with that movie rights/Letterman stage, myself. Just a warning, that bastard is LOADS less likely to give you an interview if you tranq him in a Starbucks bathroom. 😛

    Seriously, if you need another beta reader, I’d help. I can beta read like a mofo. Give me a little bit of time–I’ve got exactly one month until my book comes out, so I’m pretty much running on steam power until 11/12/14–but I’d be more than happy to.

    • He also doesn’t like aromatic handkerchiefs over his face, either.

      I’ll happily send it over to you to proof when you’ve calmed the presses a bit. Also, give me the info for your book and I’ll buy one when it comes out.

  2. Not sure about the beta readers. Maybe a writing group: face-to-face? The cold eye of dispassion is probably what we need when we gaze at our own work . . . You have an absorbing ‘stream of consciousness’ style and I – who almost always feels jaded at the sight of most post – did not feel that way about yours.

    • I’d give up a lot for a good writing group. Unfortunately I don’t know how to find them (mostly because I haven’t taken the time to go searching around the city). I’m so very glad you enjoy my writing. I’ll be checking your side of the internets shortly. 🙂

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