Is it (1st) Drafty in Here?


Finishing a first draft is an amazing accomplishment and feels wonderful. And it's not yet ready for prime time (aka publication). 

Although a first draft brings all of us a LOT closer to that goal, it's just the beginning of producing a high-quality product for readers.

The following next steps are adapted from a workshop presented by writer and developmental editor Heather Whitaker. (Be sure to check out her site for other great tips.)

1. Self-edit. Give that red-hot first draft time to cool off and have a look.

2. Writers' group. Seek experienced writers in your critique network and incorporate their useful feedback in your revisions.

3. Next, give it to your beta readers -- people from your target audience, NOT the family and friends who will simply say, "I liked it. It's good." 

4. Revise.

5. Now, it's time for a developmental edit from a pro who will give feedback to make your story stronger. Make revisions.

6. A line edit should come next. The resulting revisions will strengthen your prose.

7. The copy edit will help you fix inconsistencies in grammar and punctuation.

8. Book design can start when your manuscript is with the beta readers and includes the interior format, the cover, dedication, bio, cover copy, and acknowledgments.

9. A proofreader will check for typos and errors.

10. Finally, you will pre-print advance readers copies, both to catch any remaining errors and to send out for reviews.

It's a daunting process but the results will be clear in your final product.