How to get your book in shape after NANOWRIMO.

Rachel Kent

Blogger: Rachel Kent

Are you participating in NANOWRIMO this year? I know at least two of my clients are. I hope you are all doing well with meeting your daily goals!

As you work toward finishing your manuscript, it’s important to think about what to do with the project once November comes to an end. Hopefully you will have reached your goal of 50,000 words in the month of November, but it’s important to remember that reaching your goal doesn’t mean that your manuscript is done. Here’s what I suggest you do with your project after NANOWRIMO is over and before you start to submit your new manuscript:

1) Remember that 50,000 words is a very small manuscript. Only a couple of houses will consider a 50,000 word book, so leave some time in December for adding some conflict and additional plot twists. Most houses prefer fiction to be 75,000-90,000 words (sometimes longer depending on genre), but mass market publishing houses like Harlequin will consider 50,000-70,000 word books.

2) Read your book out loud. It’s amazing how many mistakes can be made and glossed over when you are writing so quickly. Be sure to take the time to read your book and self-edit before you send your book to anyone else. Reading out loud helps you to slow down and take the time to catch those mistakes.

3) Have some critique partners read your book before you send it to any publishing professionals. It’s best to get feedback from readers first so you can strengthen your project before submitting it to agents and editors. It’s okay to take some time after November before sending your manuscript out for possible publication. December is a slow month in publishing anyway, and the new year doesn’ t mean that you should rush. Take some extra time to get your book just right. Submitting quality is better than submitting quickly.

Best of luck to you all as you enter Week 2 of NANOWRIMO!

How many words have you written so far this month?

8 Responses

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  1. One suggestion for those participating – write the ending fairly early. It’s a lot easier to get where you want to be when you can SEE where you need to go.

  2. Phil Anderson says:

    I’ve already got a manuscript draft, so NANOWRIMO isn’t for me this year. What I need is NANOEDMO.

  3. I haven’t participated in this yet. November is always so busy for me, but it sounds fun. It’s so nice to have support through the process … people cheering you on.

  4. No, not doing NANOWRIMO this year. I’m involved in some other adventure and working on an WIP that’s already in process. But, I do like the recommended follow through. Info to tuck away in my mind for when I need it. Thank you Rachel!

  5. I am participating in NaNoWriMo. Running a little behind due to some health issues, but still writing a little everyday.

  6. Yes, I’m doing NaNo this year! I had heard that 35,000 words was the sweet spot for middle grade (although they can get huge) and so I’m shooting to write two 25,000 word middle grade manuscripts that will end up both being 35,000 words by the time I finish editing I’m sure. We shall see what happens, but I fully intend to spend several months, most likely a full year, revising these before any editors or agents see them. I love Nano because it helps me get that sloppy rough draft down quickly and out of the way and there is such a feeling of accomplishment! Thanks for the tips, Rachel and what do you think about length for middle grade, since there is such a wide range of sizes in the books for this age group?

    • Rachel Kent says:

      HI Kristen, I think 35,000 is a great length for middle grade. I prefer them to stay on the shorter side. Some people go all the way to 50,000, but I like 35K to 40K best for middle grade manuscripts.

  7. Robert Rios says:

    Thank you Rachel for your incite. I have a number of books queries that I have been submitting over the past few months. While the agents words have been kind, I have not had any indication as to why they have been rejected. But now I understand what may be the problem…they are all 45K to 56K words long. I will have to work on this. I really do appreciate and look forward to all the blog info. that I gain from Books and Such and all your contributors…keep it coming!