So you've finished a book... now what?

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Cry. Cheer. Drink. Sleep.

And then think about your next steps. What do you want from this book? Want for this book?

A completed novel can be many different things, and can follow many paths. Every novel you write makes you a better writer. Each experience writing one teaches you how to write that novel, and maybe gives you bits and pieces of knowledge so you can write the next one.

Not every novel is publishable. You can't always tell which ones are and which ones aren't until you've gained some distance, revised, and, well, tried to get it published.

At the least, you wrote a thing, and the next step is to revise that thing. Revision is a critical step in the novel-writing process and you cannot skip it. No first draft gets published. Pro authors edit their own work, and get edited.

After you've revised, you should give it to other people to read. Friends are okay, but won't always tell you the truth--or make time for your writing. It's best to find critique partners--third party individuals, usually fellow writers in your genre, who will read and give feedback. How do you find them? How do you work with them? I'll cover that.

Then you have to decide: is this the book I want to query agents with? Where do I want to see this book published, and what sort of career do I want? What agents are the best fit for those goals? Have I written a book that fits those goals?

What is more important to me: that I get published or HOW I get published?

(So many questions!)

If you're here, you may already have the answer: you have a book, and you want to get it traditionally published. So what's next?

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