By D.A. Smith
You’re reading this because you just spent 30 days working on a 50,000-word novel for NaNoWriMo, and time is up. Congratulations! You wrote an average of 1,667 words per day, in November. This was no small feat. Especially, if you have a full-time gig or a family to tend to.
Now, that NaNoWriMo is over you may be wondering, what’s next? Just because, December 1st is fast approaching that doesn’t mean that you are off the hook. There’s still plenty of work left to do.
Here’s what you could be doing now that NaNoWriMo is officially over.
Rest Your Manuscript (and Take a Break Yourself):
Most writers that complete their first drafts may be itching to publish it. Edits, rewrites, revisions, and so on are necessary to clean up your novel. But, it’s a good idea to let your first draft rest. There’s no set amount of time for how long you need the novel to rest. Some authors recommend about two weeks.
You need time to forget what you wrote. So, go on, step away from the novel.
In the meantime, return to your other hobbies. Write a blog post mentioning your NaNoWriMo accomplishments. How about grabbing some fresh air? Spending time with friends or your fur babies, (they missed you) will help keep you preoccupied on.
After that you can return to your manuscript with fresh eyes.
Now, that you’re back in front of your manuscript, you feel like it is time to publish it.
Traditional or Self Publishing:
If you’ve been in the NaNoWriMo or writing game for years. You know publishing rules have changed.
Thanks to self-publishing, your draft can go from computer screen to Kindle in less time than it took to write it. But, there’s nothing wrong with taking your time, and searching for a publisher to work with you and your novel. The method you decide to approach when publishing is up to you.
But, here’s the skinny on both methods.
Traditional publishing involves submitting a query with a clean manuscript to an agent or publishing house for them to determine you for publication. Due to the tedious nature of this process, there are usually wait times, and the odds of receiving a rejection the first time you query is high. This should not deter you from traditional publishing. It just requires effort and patience like most good things.
Self publishing has some advantages over traditional publishing. For one, no gatekeepers (unless you count publishing software), and the wait times can be on your schedule. Creating a completed novel that is not only professional and entertaining, but visually outstanding still requires hard work. Self publishing requires more effort on the author’s part. Novels need to be edited (professionally), covers designed, books marketed, and that takes time and resources.
If you feel overwhelmed, there are other ways to get your novel in readers’ hands.
Enter A Contest:
Your novel could be featured in a popular literary magazine and there may be a cash prize involved, if you enter a contest. Even if you don’t win, you can always use the contest as a platform to network and help you gain confidence to keep sharing your work.
If you’re not interested in entering a contest, consider the following.
Share Your Work for Free:
You wrote this novel. Cleaned it up. And, you didn’t get accepted by a publisher or win that contest with the cash prize. Should you give up and delete the novel?
Always be flexible.
Keep it and share it online for free. You’ve already given the world a glimpse of your work through NaNoWriMo. All you need to do is transfer the novel to your own platform. You can present it through a blog, email newsletter, or even websites like Wattpad.
Never be afraid to share your work. There will always be readers for your writing. And, you never know, you might grab the attention of an influencer.
There’s one more thing you can do…
Prepare for Next Year’s NaNoWriMo:
Start plotting your next novel. Build a following through social media. NaNoWriMo may be a year away, but you’ll be ready when itreturns.
My hope is that these tips above helps you get over the NaNoWriMo blues. Thanks for reading!
A special thanks to Sophie Li for graciously allowing D. A. Smith to share this guest post with her fantastic followers.