Good morning dear writers!
You have finished the new novel that you wrote in November for National Novel Writing Month--AKA: NaNoWriMo and now what?
Many new writers go immediately to submitting query letters to agents and or tossing it up on Amazon via self-publishing. Here is why I STRONGLY suggest that you don't do that.
The biggest reason NOT to go ahead and do either of these is that your first draft of your book is not ready to be seen. Writing a novel in a month is fun and a great way to get some great writing habits established but it's not how you write a perfect draft. It just isn't.
Most first drafts are horrible, even the ones that take a year. So, if you didn't do NaNoWriMo this year but you have completed the first draft, this is also for you. As well, you screenwriters and TV writers out there with the first pass on your manuscript, the advice is the same.
You NEED to revise!
The other reason that you don't want to send it out too early is because it shows that you aren't a professional and aren't serious about your career. Now, you could get lucky, because many super popular books could have done with massive revisions but they still did amazing. For example, 50 Shades of Grey is cringe-worthy if you are talking about the technical aspects of being a writer but it still sold millions. You may be thinking, well, if she did it, so can I. Caution here--she is not the norm. A million things had to fall into place for her and they did. She was riding on Twilight fandom, she had popularity with her fan fiction and she chose a subject-forbidden love-that was hot at that moment. It shouldn't have happened, so please don't look at that specific instance and start sending your book out.
Revisions are so much more than just changing the words and fixing grammar. Many writers just do a line edit and send it out. I want you to hear me on this.
You are way too close to your own story when you just finish to be able to see all the reasons it needs help.
I have some revision suggestions for you.
1. Print out the book. You will see if differently on paper
2. Divide it into sections, in quarters, to see if you are hitting the plot arcs in the right places
3. Replot or beat sheet it out to make sure it has a good flow
4. Dig deeper into every character to make sure they are solid
The Plot Whisperer Workbook by Martha Alderson is one of my top picks for revisions. You could also use it before you write but I like to use it in my first and second round of revisions.
5. Take a course in revisions
6. Workshop your book
7. Hire a story editor --if you want to self-publish
8. Take time to nurture your story.
What I do after NaNoWriMo is I put my novel aside in December unless I'm attending a writing workshop. Yes, I still attend them even though I'm a writing coach. You can never stop learning. I will write an outline or beat sheet in December, then in Jan I print it out and divide it up making sure all the plot points are working.
You do you, but my advice is to revise before sending out a query letter and or self-publishing.
You can do it!!
Congrats on finishing a novel!!