Posted by: nancycurteman | April 9, 2013

You’ve Finished Your Novel. What Now?

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shinyYou’ve finished your novel. You’ve labored over the first draft for months. You’ve completed a number of rewrites. You’re ready to send it out into the world. What now?

Here are a few suggestions:

• Decide on the kind of publisher you want—traditional, indie, or self-publish. You will approach each method differently.
Traditional. For most traditional publishers you will need an intermediary—an agent. This requires a preliminary search for someone to represent you.
Indie. Small independent publishers often do not require an agent. In a sense, you will be your own agent.
Self-Publishing. There are a variety of self-publishing companies—some will charge you a fee others are free.

• After you decide which kind of publisher will meet your needs you’re ready to begin your search. In this post I will address the process for locating a small independent publisher.

• One way to begin your search for an indie is an internet search for a publisher in your particular genre, i.e. romance, mystery, memoirs.

• When you’ve made a list, check each publisher out on Editors and Preditors. This will eliminate some names on your list.

• Next, visit each publisher’s website. Locate titles of books they’ve published. Check the date of publication. Their latest books should have release dates of 2012 or 2013. Search out the titles on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. These sites will give you insight into the popularity of the books.

• Now you’ve shortened your publisher list even more. Return to the remaining publishers’ websites and locate their submission guidelines. These will vary considerably but you must follow them exactly.

• Prepare a cover letter, synopsis, author bio and marketing plan based on each publisher’s guidelines. Most small publishing houses will want this info along with anywhere from the first 20 to 50 pages of your novel. Most houses will want you to email the material.

Your last step is to await a response. However, don’t sit idle. Start your next novel.

More tips:
5 Things You Should Know About Print-On-Demand
12 Reasons Mystery Writers Should Consider E-Publishing
Ebook Publishing: A Great Market for Mystery Writers


  1. That’s great advice, Nancy. Waiting for publishers/editors/agents to respond is not productive. Writing the next story/novel is productive.


    • I follow my own advice. I just finished my novel, Murder
      Casts a Spell and I’ve started my next book.


  2. Wonderful post, NC . . . and you practice what you preach. Glad to hear you finished Murder Casts a Spell. Great title for it.


    • Murder Casts a Spell was the title that got the most votes from all those I surveyed. Thank you to everyone.


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