I can scarcely believe that after carrying the characters and ideas around in my head for what seems like years, I finally have a ‘finished’ manuscript – ye ha! However, once the euphoria wore off, I must admit to a feeling of ‘what on earth do I do now?’ It’s all very well to say the manuscript is finished but in reality, I hadn’t a clue what to do next. Luckily my writer friend Linn has taken me under her wing.  As an old hand at this game, so to speak, – she has been published both via the traditional method and epub- she has guided me through the next stages.  By the way, do check out her website http://www.loveahappyending.com where you’ll find lots of information on lifestyle tips as well as books. Here’s the useful advice I’ve been given so far.

Obviously you will want your book to be as good as it can be. If you intend to go down the epub route as I do, then go through it with a fine toothcomb for any obvious errors, it’s pretty basic but surprising how often you might miss a full stop out or speech marks etc.

Start to compile a list of favourite turns of phrase that you have a tendancy to overuse. If you highlight common words like, said, told, just, also etc you’ll soon see if you have used too many of them too close together. You can them change these favourites for an alternative.

Do a timeline to check that all the events you write about are in the correct sequence. Also watch out contradictory  weather conditions if you have made reference to this in earlier chapters.

When you have got your manuscript into the best state that you possibly can on your own, then and only then should you send it out to others for an appraisal. This might mean calling in a few favours or putting a request out on Twitter but you need a handful of objective people who will give you an honest critique. You can naturally give it to an editor but be prepared to pay and make sure you know what you’re getting. If you can afford it, then I would recommend this route. Being cash-strapped myself, I’m relying on a few Beta readers for feedback and close friends to spot any errors in grammar, punctuation etc.

Before you send your manuscript winging its way over the ether, do attach a standard copyright agreement on the front page and send the finished version to yourself as an attachment but don’t open it. You’ll then have dated evidence that the manuscript is yours should there be any dispute in the future.

I’m now anxiously awaiting feedback on my baby and know that my first book ‘Jenna’s Journey’ will be all the better for it. I’m not sure the same can be said for my nails though!!