I’ve finished my manuscript! What now? 16 ultimate resources to make good decisions about your book

A friend has turned into a writer. Unbeknown to me, she’s been chipping away at a novel and her husband just sent this email.

Her novel is more or less finished!!! I may need to pick your brains about marketing! We also think we need to get it professionally proof-read. We tried doing it ourselves with Grammarly, but realise it’s way more complex than it seems …’

Ah bless. If you’re well seasoned in the author world, you’ll already be counting the many erroneous assumptions. Carts before horses. Running before walking.

But we all have to start somewhere. And even if you’re already wiser than my beginner friend here, you might know a writer who’s effervescing in a similar state of enthusiastic, ecstatic, multi-plinged euphoria. High on all those well-earned Es, they can’t possibly know what’s coming next.

So this post is a gentle reality check, a bit of tough love, a bit of hand-holding and a jolly, genuine thump between the shoulder blades to say: well done, welcome to the club.

Marketing? Proof reading?

Let me explain about those production processes.

This post is angled for self-publishers, but it explains all the work that a publisher typically does on a book. Including proofreading etc

And here’s another post about production processes

NB Do NOT rely on Grammarly! To proof-read a book, you need a knowledgeable human. Also, you need to develop good grammar skills etc yourself. This may seem unsympathetic, but if you’re not sensitive to grammar, spelling and language use, how will you learn the linguistic and lexical control to write well? Seriously, would you expect a person who is tone deaf to play a musical instrument to a listenable standard? Here’s where I rant about that

But even with all that natural prowess, you’ll still need copy editors and proof readers because they read in a highly specialised way. They look for the mistakes you never dreamed were possible.

Did you say ‘self-publish’?

Are you going to self-publish or try for a traditional deal? Is this the first time you’ve ever been asked to think about it? Here’s a post about self-publishing vs traditional publishing – the similarities and the differences. They’re no longer mutually exclusive either – there are many options in between. And as you might expect, you’ll need to spot the rip-off merchants who are eager for your £££s, so I’ve pointed to some tell-tale signs.

You’ve heard of crowdfunding? Here’s how my friend Victoria Dougherty is using crowdfunding to support a creative departure

Do people still send manuscripts off to publishers and literary agents? Yes they do. And you can. But before you send your manuscript anywhere, read on.

Before you can walk….

Now you know how a book is made. But first, is the book really ready? Have you rewritten it until your fingers are in tatters?

Here’s the behind-the-scenes work that went into my last release, Not Quite Lost

Here’s a post about beginning with a muddle and rewriting into glory (with a dose of disco)

When you decide to work with an editor (and I recommend you do at some point), here’s what they can do for you

How much should you budget for an editor? And how should you choose one?

If those costs make you boggle, here are some low-cost ways to boost your writing skills

Will your editor trample all over your style?  No, a good editor helps you to be yourself

Have you looked for feedback and ended up in a pickle? Here’s how to find your way again.

Will your editor laugh at your naïve efforts? Au contraire. Here’s why they admire you and appreciate what you’ve already achieved.


You asked about marketing. It’s not really my sphere of expertise, and each type of book and writer will require different approaches. But yes, you do have to make time for it. Here’s a post about finding a good balance

If you’re going to get on Twitter, for heaven’s sake use your author name. Here’s why

Wait, I’m overwhelmed! There are so many books already out there….

Yes there are. But the world still needs new voices. There’s never been a person like you, with your experiences, your perspective, your curiosities. You might have the unique outlook and insight that a reader needs to hear.

PS If you’re curious about what I’m working on at the moment, here’s the latest edition of my newsletter

PPS You should start a newsletter.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  1. #1 by Maria Donovan on November 12, 2018 - 8:53 pm

    Great roundup of advice and blog posts from the Roz Morris mine of novel knowledge!

  2. #3 by tracikenworth on November 13, 2018 - 2:05 am

    Reblogged this on Where Genres Collide.

  3. #4 by marymichaelschmidt on November 13, 2018 - 3:12 am

    Reblogged this on When Angels Fly.

  4. #5 by Don Massenzio on November 13, 2018 - 12:47 pm

    Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out this post from the Nail Your Novel blog with 16 ultimate resources to make good decisions about your book

  5. #6 by Writing your first novel-Some things you should know on November 13, 2018 - 12:59 pm

    Great blog! Thanks for sharing. I saved it to my favorites so I can go back when I have more time. I was one of those folks who finished a novel and was ecstatic. I sent it to agents, and of course, received nothing but rejection, with the exception of one who informed me my work wasn’t ready. I had no idea how much I didn’t know and how much work was left to be done :-).

    • #7 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on November 13, 2018 - 6:31 pm

      Thanks! This is such a common scenario. You were certainly right to be ecstatic that you’d finished – but the rest of us know it’s only the start! Hope you’re still finding it rewarding.

  6. #8 by Anna Dobritt on November 13, 2018 - 1:21 pm

    Reblogged this on Anna Dobritt — Author.

  7. #9 by Coordinator on November 13, 2018 - 8:31 pm

    Reblogged this on Indie Reviews and commented:
    The best place to start … is at the beginning:

  8. #10 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on January 18, 2019 - 8:00 pm

    Thank you!

  1. Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 11-15-2018 | The Author Chronicles
  2. Writer's Tips - #Editing, #Self-Publishing, Amazon reviews
  3. The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2019 | Brent Dowdle
  4. 100 Best Writing Websites: 2019 Edition

Your turn!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: