3 Things to Do While Your First Draft “Breathes”
You did a thing. Yeah, a THING! A BOOK! You WROTE one! And, it’s going to get published–traditionally or independently–doesn’t matter; it’s going to happen! Get excited. I’ll wait.
Once you’ve caught your breath, we gotta start thinking about what your next step is. You probably thought writing the book was hard, but I promise you, that was the easy part.
Thanks for the vote of confidence.
Hey, I’m here to help you. And lying isn’t going to accomplish that. Revision is one of the harder parts of anything because it’s all about change–making something better–by seeing the bad before anyone else does. But, before you even do that, here are some things for you to do while you let your new book breathe.
Most importantly: YOU HAVE TO LEAVE THIS FIRST DRAFT ALONE
It’s so devastatingly hard–I know. You’re so ready to read it together, to start editing, to share it with the world, and to publish by tomorrow! But, you’re biased. Plain and simple. You’ve been working on this book baby for so long, you’re less likely to notice anything wrong with it if you start messing with it now. That, or you’ll resent it and think everything is wrong.
So, leave it alone. At least for a couple weeks. Longer is better, if possible.
What the hell do we do while we let it sit?
Send it to a couple of BETA-READERS.
Beta readers are the second readers who start to help you determine if your book will appeal to your audience. And, if it won’t, they help you figure out how to do that. Now, there are different kinds of readers and editors that have similar, but different, jobs when it comes to the writing process. I suggest you read up on that to make sure you choose the best-qualified person to do each job for your best benefit–especially if you’re paying!
Anyway, send the first draft to a few people who are willing to beta-read for you. Make sure you have some questions for them to answer after to give you constructive criticism and productive feedback. While you’re ignoring your work, you can start bringing it to the attention of others.
Which brings me to my next point:
Start MARKETING on social media.
Hopefully, you’ve read about how you can gain a following without having finished your book in my other article. If you haven’t, go do so because that’s going to come in really handy right now. Doing challenges with your characters, posting graphics of settings, scenes, and other things, anything that helps potential readers see into your book for a moment and makes them want to know more. Start doing it.
If you follow my newsletter, I have some specific suggestions based on what I do on my Instagram with fellow writers. If not, you can still find out by signing up and using the password to access your subscriber exclusives.
Do some Genre RESEARCH
In addition to the research you did to keep your writing groove going, there is still research to be done after you actually write the draft. There are a plethora of articles available on how to best write in each genre. Writing horror is not like writing romance, even if they’re sub-plots. So, get to reading up on what you should make sure you have in your book, what readers like and don’t, what not to have, how to write things better, and etc. No matter how good your book is, there is always room for improvement and the classics, best-sellers, and other writers and readers in your genre can help you figure out how to make that happen.
My suggestion: hit up Pinterest and type in “[genre] writing” and go from there.
It doesn’t seem like much, but let me tell ya: if you’re doing it right, this will take up a couple of weeks to do well and give your brain a break from thinking about the direct words of the book. Make sure you hit up your network and see Instagram for how others do it. Use those ideas and get started!
And, congratulations on finishing your first draft! 😍
What do you do when taking a break from your newly finished first draft?
Let us know in the comments below, and on social media, of course. Not to mention, signing up for some Writer’s Wisdom will behoove you in this topic. Just saying…