What happens after you've written a book

So you’ve written a book and want to know what to do with it… as an author let me tell you there is more than one way to go to the next step.

The first thing you have to be aware of is this, a harsh lesson but one we all have to learn… Not everyone is going to fall in love with your work! What you may think is brilliant is in all actuality the first draft of your work. Now you need to reread it, tighten up the story and edit, edit, edit. Then when your think it can’t get any better, you need to go back through and edit some more.
What, all that editing sounds boring you say? Well, that is truly the next step. When you think you are ready to submit it to a publisher, you first need to go to the publisher’s site and read their guidelines for submission. Read them over and over again until you understand exactly what they want. Each publisher is basically the same but they all have their little quirks too. One word of advice, follow the guidelines to the T. If you don’t, your story will go directly into the trash, there will be no passing go or collecting a contract.

Before you submit, look over your manuscript one more time. Make sure everything is ready and there are no gaps in the spacing and you have the right font. All of this may seem redundant but believe me it will help.

Next comes the hardest part of your submission. The cover or query letter. You need to grab the editors attention but do it with professionalism not garish bad taste.  There are a number of samples available, please look them over before you send your submission in.

A special note here, most publishers want a synopsis to go along with the first three chapters. Look into what your publisher is looking for in the synopsis. If you go the extra mile to do this both you and the publisher will be happier. The synopsis should be short and to the point. I have one publisher that wants it done like a high school book report. I haven’t done one of those in too many years but that’s what she wanted so that’s what I did. My first synopsis was eight pages long, way too long. I had to reduce it to no more than three pages.  Not fun!

Then you begin the dreaded waiting game. Day after day, week after week, sometimes month after month you wait for an answer. At times you will wonder what’s taking so long? Then after waiting for up to six months you get an email or a letter in the mail. Your hands are shaking and your heart is pounding in your chest, you are almost afraid to open it. Then you get the courage to click on it… the anticipation is hell but you find the courage to look, will you be crushed or thrilled?

It could go either way, this is the part when the powers that be will test you. There is something you need to remember at this point, even if you get the dreaded rejection slip you can learn something. Yes it’s going to hurt that the publisher didn’t want your story but don’t let it ruin what could be a great start. If you are lucky enough to get a reason why the publisher didn’t grab your work up take a hint, go over the reason they gave you and think it over. Did they make suggestions at what would make your story stronger and better? If they did it could mean they were interested, just not so enthused about it. Take a day or so to think about what they said then try to work their suggestions into your story.  They know the market and what’s selling or not selling. At least give it a try. You can always resubmit.

If you got the letter every writer waits for you can always do what I did when I got my first acceptance letter, I screamed from the top of my lungs, HOT DIGGITY DAM.  My husband came running in from the other room to find out what all the commotion was about.

Word of advice: NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS!  If you want to be a writer, then go for it. The only one holding you back is you.

Guest post by Kim Dahlen. Kim lives in a small town (population495) in Wisconsin. From her deck she can see the Mississippi River on one side and the bluffs, where eagles live and nest on the other side. She lives with her husband Dave and dog Sammy. Her two children are grown and she has two grandchildren. She loves to watch people and that has helped her with her writing. She loves to create characters and put them in a troubling situation then sit back and let them do all the work. Her characters surprise even her at times. At some point in the book they take on a life of their own and the twists and turns become the story. Of all the stories she could write she found she liked mystery/thrillers the best. She likes to keep her readers guessing until the very end of the book.

Web site: www.kjdahlen.com
I am on facebook and twitter as kjdahlen
My blog is on facebook at K.J.’s blog

The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, so I encourage you to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2012/08/virtual-book-tour-blood-memories-by-kj.html


  1. Very informative post...looking forward to the book!


  2. It's nice to have someone to share those "Hot Diggity" moments with...who celebrates your dreams with you.

    As a librarian, I appreciate hearing the process from "the author's mouth."
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

  3. I am not a writer, but it seems like great advice for the new author.

  4. It's often a long journey, but when you finally get the nod it must feel amazing.



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