Are you participating in NANOWRIMO this year? I know at least one of my clients is. 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. Plan these, if you can, while you are writing this November so that the plot flows well. 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?
Kristen Joy Wilks
Thank you, Rachel! Yes, I am doing NaNo this month. But it will probably be a year before I think about submitting these stories to a professional. I hope to write the rough drafts for two middle grade manuscripts. I usually add words as I revise, so if I start with a 25,000 word rough draft I should end up with something in the middle grade sweet spot of about 35,000 words (or bigger, ha!) by the time I’m done editing. I will be sending to my critique partner, probably after going through it several times on my own. I love your advice to read it out loud. There was a book I wrote for my boys years ago and I caught so much as I read it aloud for them. It was a really fun time, too! They bounced all around the room while I read. However, they were disappointed that the story did not have any flying dogs, ha!
Oh, my dear, no flying dogs
are soaring through your story!
Please say not that talking frogs
are hogging all the glory
as they ride on prancing pigs
up and down the boulevard,
wearing rural big-hair wigs;
that would be so very hard
to take, and to digest;
I implore thee, try to make
of this omission all the best,
for there is so much at stake,
so please appeal to your kids’ tastes
and place a dog on roller skates.
Kristen Joy Wilks
Ha ha ha! Oooh … I like the prancing pigs!