Today we’re going to be discussing some of the many, many steps that come after you finish the first draft of a book. However many of these steps you choose to partake in yourself is up to you. I’m simply going to provide as many of them as I can so you can make an informed decision, and be aware about how much is involved in the typical publication of a book.

For a lot of newbies finishing their first draft comes with a lot of very rude awakenings. If you thought that writing the draft was the hard part, I have some bad news for you. The writing can be hard, don’t get me wrong, but the sheer amount of other things that authors have to do on the daily can get a little overwhelming. I’m not going to be talking about things like marketing, community building, etc. in today’s video because those are all things you should be doing through the entirety of the process. 

This will exclusively be steps from drafting to publishing and I will discuss all of those other things in a separate video, and most, if not all of the individual steps will feature in their own videos down the road. 

Please keep in mind that from here on out the actual writing of stories is going to now be in direct competition with editing and marketing. I know that a lot of the pre-published authors push the narrative that you must write every day, but I am here to tell you that that’s not always possible or desirable, even outside of general life limitations. Especially when you get up to book releases, you’re going to be heavily occupied by a pile of other tasks that aren’t writing in order to have a successful launch.  

Phase 1: The Read Over

Some people will say that it’s a good idea to set your manuscript aside and let it rest, but if you’re like me, and you have a shitty memory for things that you’ve written, the manuscript is essentially fresh as soon as you move onto the next page. Whether you choose to wait, or read it immediately, this step will let you experience the entirety of what you have written as a cohesive whole. Some people like to do a read through experiencing it as a reader and others will choose to make themselves editing notes as they go. There’s no right or wrong, it’s just what you feel will work best for you. 

The process of the first draft is different for everyone. Some people write it in secret, some people have alpha readers or critique partners reading as they go, some people write out of order and have to stitch scenes together. Depending on what you do, you might have more or less work ahead of you than others. Alpha readers and critique partners are a valuable tool, but you are absolutely not required to have them if that’s not something that suits your process. If you have questions about alpha readers and critique partners, you can refer back to my episodes on beta readers, which go over the differences.

Phase 2: Developmental Editing

This phase has a lot of components so bear with me as I go over your options. You can do as many of them as you’d like, but I’ll try to present them in order.

If you are not a plotter, i.e. someone who outlines before writing a book, this can be a good opportunity for you to create one now. You might see that and wonder how an outline after the book is already written could be of any value. Essentially by laying out all of the plot beats that you’ve written and applying them to an outline after the fact, you can make sure that you’re hitting all the points that you need to, you can see if there is too much focus on one section and not another, you can see if any characters or plot threads are put down and never picked back up, etc. It’s simply an organizational tool that you could potentially use at this point.

Next up is the self edit. I will be having in-depth videos on how to self edit your manuscript, but today I am simply going to give you a brief overview. When it comes to editing your work there’s a specific order that you want to go in. That order is developmental editing, line editing, copy editing, and proofreading. It is extremely common in my experience with new authors that they tend to focus on things like grammar and punctuation far too early in the process. Because no first draft is perfect this is usually a complete waste of time, especially if you end up needing to do rewrites.

In the developmental editing phase, you’re going to be focusing on big picture things such as plot, pacing, world building, and characters. Do not, I repeat, do not let yourself get bogged down in grammar and punctuation at this phase, no matter how tempting it might be. If you made notes for yourself during your read through, or if you’re going to go through the story at this phase, pay special attention to these big picture items. If you don’t notice any egregious issues, then you can start to prepare for the beta reader process. 

If you are going to be using beta readers, and I highly recommend that you do, you are going to want to do a self edit before you let them engage with your manuscript. Please refer to my series on beta readers for more information on what beta readers are, what they do, and how to get the most out of the process. Please put your manuscript through a spell check before giving it to beta readers. You may not want to focus on grammar and punctuation at this point, but you also don’t want to hand beta readers a hot mess.

Beta readers will assist you with developmental editing by helping you make sure that your story makes sense, that you are providing enough information, and that your story is enjoyable to read. They will be able to examine the elements of the story with fresh eyes, and without all of the information that you keep in your head, so they are much more likely to notice missing pieces than you are.

Developmental editing will shore up plot holes, make your characters engaging, keep the plot pace enjoyable, and give you a strong foundation to continue with. You may have to do rewrites at this phase, depending on what you uncover in your read through. This will be up to your own discretion and the feedback you’re getting from whoever you’re allowing to read your story at this time.

If you are intending to work with a professional developmental editor, be sure to do your research and plan things around their availability. Popular editors can be booked for months in advance which doesn’t work with everyone’s schedule. If you end up in that situation and you have a lot of time on your hands, you can use that extra time to develop your author platform or to work on future stories. This is also a good point in time to do your beta readers because that process can take several weeks depending on the length of your story.

This is also a good phase in which you would introduce a sensitivity reader if you’re intending to work with one, just in case their suggestions prompts a rewrite.

I’m going to end the video here so it’s not too long, so that’s all for now. You can find all of my books and platforms below. If you have questions or suggestions for future episodes, please do let me know. And if you’d like early access to these videos you can join my Patreon where I share them with people as soon as they’re ready to roll. Thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you soon for another episode!

SIERRA'S BOOKS

OMEGAVERSE 

First Heat Series – m/f, 3rd person POV 

First Heat: https://books2read.com/FirstHeat 

First Heat: Second Chances: https://books2read.com/FHSC 

First Heat: Tying The Knot: https://books2read.com/FirstHeatTTK 

 

Heat Play Love – m/m/m, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/HeatPlayLove 

Conference Confidential – m/f, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/ConferenceConfidential 

2021 Omegaverse Collection – contains First Heat, First Heat: Second Chances, Heat Play Love, Conference Confidential, and 2 bonus shorts https://books2read.com/OV2021 

Nicky and the Night Owls: Part One – polyamorous (m/f/nb/f/nb/m), multi 1st person POV https://books2read.com/NickyNightOwls 

Nicky and the Night Owls: Part Two – polyamorous (m/f/nb/f/nb/m), multi 1st person POV – currently on preorder https://books2read.com/NickyNightOwls2 

Knotty or Nice Christmas Anthology – (my story is based on Nicky and the Pack) – https://books2read.com/knotty-or-nice 

CONTEMPORARY 

Salacious Salvation – m/f, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/SalaciousSalvation 

Playtime with Professor – m/f, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/PlaytimeWithProfessor 

 

PARANORMAL Into The Depths – f/nb, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/intothedepths

 

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