Last week we said goodbye to 2013 and welcomed the new year, a time for fresh starts, commit to change, and most importantly, a new determination to meet our goals. For some writers, the new year is the perfect time to produce new works. For others, dusting off an old manuscript might be just the ticket.
If you have abandoned works taking up space on your hard drive or in a desk drawer, don’t let them go to waste! Dig them out and see if a dash of new year enthusiasm and determination is all they need to become a great book. Follow these steps to freshen up your manuscript for self-publishing in 2014:
- Awaken. It’s time to wake up and reassess that long-dormant manuscript. You may remember it as either utterly brilliant or complete rubbish (although I suspect if you considered it literary gold, you’d have self-published it by now). All writers feel one of those extremes about their own work just after completing it, and it’s almost never as good or bad as they think. Bring it out of deep freeze and give it one more chance.
- Dissect. Dig into each page like you’re reading it for the first time — and leave no stone unturned. Set aside whatever feelings or impressions you once had about your manuscript and look at it with fresh, new eyes. You’ll be much more objective about it now that time has passed. Pretend it’s someone else’s work, if that helps. You may find strokes of genius you didn’t recognize before.
- Reshape. Of course, along with unearthing forgotten brilliance, you’ll likely also find your fair share of thorny passages that inspire “What was I thinking?” moments. Time to toss out the junk and tighten up that manuscript. Be merciless: it is okay if your manuscript looks and sounds completely different when you are done. The new year is all about redefining and changing.
- Build. Fill in the “bald patches” – elements of your story that require elaboration, such as further plot and character development. Build on what you already have to complete the manuscript.
- Nurture. Cultivate a plan to nurture those parts of your book that are weakest. Sprinkle it generously with notes about what changes you need to make as you review and review again; gradually, your writing and your overall story will transform into the masterpiece you imagine. New year projects aren’t about quick success; they are about a year of nurturing your goals and dreams.
- Expand your mind. Read the works of others. See a good movie, or listen to your favorite music. Exchange ideas with other writers. The idea is to borrow inspiration that will better inform your book.
- Realize. Once all your efforts have turned your old manuscript into a great book, it is time to take your product to market and enjoy the success of completing a book. You did it, and readers can’t wait to read your work!
Fresh eyes and a few good brainstorms may produce all the fresh ideas you need to turn that literary new year project into a chart-topping book published in 2014. Good luck!
|ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.|