Finished Your Manuscript...So What's Next?

Finished Your Manuscript...So What's Next?
by Victoria Simcox

Completing your manuscript is an incredible achievement. I liken it to a master craftsman who builds a beautiful sailboat. He puts a lot of thought and planning into building his craft in order for it to be sea worthy, just like you have put a lot of thought and planning into your manuscript in order for it to capture your reader's interest. But just like the craftsman of a boat this is only the completion of the first step. The next step for the craftsman is to make sure the boat will sail properly. And the same goes for you as an author—after you finish your manuscript, in a sense you will have to make sure it sails properly as well. In other words you will have to take precise and accurate steps in finding a way to get your manuscript into book form and out onto the book shelves and virtual book shelves. If the craftsman built the boat wrong it will probably not sail properly or may even sink and so in a similar way if you don't get your manuscript published likewise it too will probably sink, not into the depths of the sea, but into the depth of a drawer, box, shelf, or computer file.

Ok that I'm done painting you a pretty little picture analogy—well maybe not so pretty, but never the less an analogy, In a small nut shell, I'd like to provide you with a few tidbits on what to do after you made it over the first hurdle, the finished manuscript.

The first thing I would advise you to do is get a current copy of The Writers Market Guide, if you are a children's book author get the Children's Writer & Illustrator's Market Guide. These guilds provide you with a gold mine of information, covering such topics as the basics of book propels, keys to writing a successful query letter, exclusive interviews with best selling authors, and a huge list of agents and publishers, who are currently accepting, or not accepting query letters, and or manuscript submissions. Once you've read this book, and got your query letter and manuscript ready to go, start sending them out.

The next step is going to take a good amount of patience and a skin as tough as the old leather football lying on the shelf in your garage. What I mean is be prepared to get a lot of rejections. I want to list a few famous authors and how many rejections they got before publication.

Jasper Fforde: received 76 rejections from publishers before his first novel, The Eyre Affair, was published by Hobber & Stoughton.

Ellen Jackson who wrote Cinder Edna was rejected more then 40 times before it was accepted for publication.

Madeleine L’Engle's A Wrinkle in Time was rejected 26 times before being accepted by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. It ended up winning the John Newbery Medal as the best children’s book of 1963 and is now in its 69th printing.

If these famous authors and the umpteen more I have not listed got rejected, what makes you expect it to be any different for you. Sorry I'm not trying to hurt your feelings, just trying to make you a little stronger. Keep sending your stuff out for as long as you can take the rejections, because maybe it will only be 3 tries or maybe 89 or more. I went a little higher then the 76 of Jasper Fforde, so you'll try even a little harder then he did. My point is stay strong and keep the faith. You just may be the next Ellen Jackson, Madeleine L'Engle's, hay maybe even J K Rowling. But just think, if you never try you'll have never known. Ug! Not knowing, that's got to be the worst thing to live with.

The other way you might want to go, if you decide that you can't take the rejections any longer, or if you just want to do it your own way to begin with, and what I mean is own the rights to your book, be in charge of its cover and inside design, market your own way, and possibly receive a lot more royalties for your book then from a traditional publisher, then Self Publishing may be the way for you to go. Some of you may cringe at these to words 'Self Publishing' but there could be a light at the end of this tunnel, if you do your homework. I am not going to go too far into this subject because there is way too many issues to discuss about self publishing and this article would be way to long to cover them all. So what I'll do instead is recommend a really informative book called, The Fine Print of Self Publishing, by Mark Levine. There are so many ways to self publish and so many different POD companies out there, and once they know you're in the market looking for one, they'll be flooding you with emails and even phone calls to get you on board with their specific company. It can get really mind boggling trying to decide which way to go with self publishing. In his book The Fine Print of Self Publishing, Mark Levine analyzes and critiques the contracts and services of the top 48 self publishing companies to educate authors on how to decipher the legalese in self publishing contracts. This book is a must and I highly recommend it. So whether it be traditional publishing or self publishing, I hope that I have been able to help you glean a little information on what to do next with your (baby) your manuscript. I also hope you, writer, like the craftsman who built his pride and joy sailboat will be ready to set sail, though come what may, still waters, or storms—just remember to hang in there. You may just make it to Paradise Island and you may just find your treasure there.

References in this article are from: and The Fine Print of Self Publishing by Mark Levine

Victoria, known as Vicki, was born in 1966, in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, to an Austrian immigrant mother, and a Dutch immigrant father. She has one older sister, Jeannette. When Vicki was 7, she moved with her family to British Columbia. In her early twenties Vicki moved to Western Washington and now resides in Marysville WA. She has been married to her husband Russ, for nineteen years and they have three children; Toby, who is fifteen, Kristina, thirteen, and William, eight. She has home schooled her children for the past nine years, and she also teaches elementary school art. Vicki’s other family members are, a Chihuahua, named Pipsy, two cats, Frodo, and Fritz, and two parakeets, Charlie, and Paulie. She did have a pet rat named Raymond when she started writing The Magic Warble, but sad to say, he has since passed away of old age. Vicki enjoys writing, painting watercolors, watching movies, hanging out with her family, and chauffeuring her kids around to their many activities. Her favorite author is C.S. Lewis, and one of her fondest memories is when she was twelve. She would sit at the kitchen table and read The Chronicles of Narnia to her mother while she cooked dinner. These magical stories were very dear to Vicki and she remembers wishing, If only I could go to Narnia like Lucy and Susan. Vicki hopes that maybe, she can touch someone with her story in a similar way. You can visit her website at

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