The Next Step

I have completed one hard copy edit of my novel, including major revisions and a few cuts. I am now twenty pages shy of completing a second edit, which had proven to be much easier with less mistakes and more smooth sentences. Now, I am ready to progress to the next step, which could be any of the following:

  1. Send a query letter to agents or publishers that do not require an agent;
  2. Send a query letter with three sample chapters to an agent or publishers that do not require an agent;
  3. Run to the self publishing house to publish their work right away;
  4. Send it to a freelance editor who, for around $300, will critique the writer’s work;
  5. Edit, edit, and edit some more until the story has morphed into something else;
  6. Send it to beta readers;
  7. Stuff the story in a trunk and forget about it, because it will never be good enough anyway.

(Whenever a semi-colon is used, an angel loses its wings. Believe me, I feel very guilty right now).

I have thought long and hard about what my next move is. I do not care to self publish, and I am not interested in a freelance editor, because I believe money flows to the writer, not away. I have completely revised my story, as well as completed at least two rounds of editing, with the help of my critique group. I think it would be foolish to stuff my manuscript into a trunk and forget about it, because I truly believe it is a good story. Finally, I do not want to go straight to publishers, even if they do accept work without an agent.

Well, that leaves numbers one and six. My first order of business is to send my story to beta readers. Two of the people who have accepted to be readers are bookworms who read just about every genre out there. I want their opinions as readers. In other words, if they read the first few pages while in the bookstore, would they buy it? Once they stared reading, were they be inclined to read further?

While my manuscript is with readers, I will research agents in the thriller genre. I will also learn how to construct a proper query letter. I can’t wait to read Noah Lukeman’s EBook, How to Write a Great Query Letter. Finally, after my readers have given me their feedback, I will decide if anything needs to be revised.

That’s it for now. Happy writing!

10 thoughts on “The Next Step

  1. Option 8: Run your manuscript through the AutoCrit Editing Wizard.

    It's much cheaper than a human editor and you will be surprised at what it finds.

    I use it all the time and I love it 🙂 It's free to try.


  2. Janine,

    I did the free Autocrit a few months back. Really, it's not my thing. I believe, as a writer, I need to edit my own work, including repetitious words, grammar, spelling, plot, character, etc. etc.


  3. Hi Susan. Congrats on your progress! Thriller writer here as well, almost done polishing my novel, but lagging on the marketing/branding end. Website and blog coming soon.
    I have considered beta readers as well. Just a thought here. This is such a subjective business. Why not go ahead and send your work to someone who just MIGHT throw a contract your way?


  4. Hi Kevin,

    Some people don't use beta readers. Since this is my first novel, I decided it might behoove me to do so. Good feedback so far from one of the readers. I have not heard from the other one yet. I am also part of a critique group, who are my “chapter by chapter” readers.

    Have you you finished your thriller novel yet? Sent out queries. I am trying to learn how to write a query letter and, I tell you, it's more difficult than the novel!


  5. Susan,
    I think, as writers, we all go through those same steps. I just finished polishing a whopping 130,000 word Amercan saga a week or so ago. I was dreading the query letter but finally jumped into it. It's done and now the first 10 agents have the chance to respond.

    After extensive reseach on the query, here is my first paragraph. Hope this helps you:

    Back in Juarez, where the Mexican drug cartels have transformed the fourth-largest city into the money-laundering, drug-smuggling capital of the Northern hemisphere, sixteen year old Lola Salinas is an excellent candidate for rape, torture and murder. Her younger sister and close cousin have already had their breasts cut, faces burned and bodies dumped into a slimy drainage ditch. If avoiding certain death means following treacherous Coyotes through the rattlesnake-invested desert, pass the ruthless road gangs of murdering Zeetas, and into collapsing drug tunnels beneath the U.S. border, what choice does she really have?


  6. Adgrogan,

    Thank you for the encouragement. I know, I need to just write it and get it done. Book is with beta readers right now. Excellent feedback from them. I have one more edit to do, though.

    Excellent first paragraph, by the way. Please keep me posted on what happens!


  7. Hi Susan:

    Congrats as well on the positive feedback! Hope it translates into healthy sales for you when the book hits the shelves.

    I have finished the novel but not polished it fully yet…I made the mistake of submitting my queries too early. Got one full and a couple of partials, but you can imagine the results

    Sush is life..live and learn…smile



  8. Kevin,

    Thank you so much! I think I'm afraid of submitting my queries when I'm not ready. Yet, I know I can't edit until I'm blue in the face. I have some typos to clean up, some areas to clarify/straighten out, then I think I am going to take the plunge.


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