On Finishing My Novel

And so I have finally done it. After all these years of fancying myself as a writer, I have actually got off my butt and done something about it. I have written a novel.

Now, when I say I have written my novel, I mean I have produced a story of around eighty thousand words with a beginning, middle and end. I have sent the first ten pages to a professional editor and given the novel in its entirety to a beta reader. I have taken on their feedback, and made the necessary changes.

Now what?

Have I really finished? After several edits, I feel I’ve gone as far as I can go on my own.

I could send my novel out, complete with query and synopsis, to the publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts. However, my editor has advised against this. According to her, unsolicited manuscripts are inclined to sit at the bottom of the slush pile for months on end, before being thrown into the garbage with barely a cursory glance from overworked editors.

So even though I have prepared several submissions, they are sitting in my “Submissions” folder for now. I have prepared entries for competitions, got involved in social media and signed up for an online workshop.

The online workshop doesn’t start for another six weeks, and I am struggling to get my head around social media we authors are expected to do. While I am enjoying the interactions with fellow writers, establishing an online presence is taking as much time and effort as writing the bloody book itself!

And I don’t know that I really want an online presence; you see I am a closet writer. I don’t tell the majority of people what I do in my spare time, and I don’t want to. So that leaves my in the paradoxical position of doing something is secret, but putting it out there for the world to see.

My main concern is whether my novel is any good or not. It has not been published, and so claiming to be an “author” in the online world seems like fraud to me. But anyway, I will press on, tinkering away at my novel and finding out more about the business side of writing.

And then, of course, I could always start work on novel number two.

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