You're done your novel, now what | Lunch-Time Librarian

You’re done your novel, now what? – “Nuts for NaNo”

Almost at the finish line!! Can you guys believe the month is almost over? It’s the end of Movember (thankfully ) and the end of NaNoWriMo is upon us. For those of you wanting some tips for finishing off your novel take a look at last week’s post How to End Your Novel in 5 Steps. Since we’ve already tackled endings what could be next? The next step, of course, is what to do with your finished novel! I mean, you have a novel now, why not do something with it? What I’ve done is created a fun quiz to help you decide what to do with your novel, AND there’s a goal setting worksheet, AND there’s a list of resources to help you out!

Here’s the breakdown for this post…

  1. I’m done my novel, now what? The Quiz
  2. Goal Setting Plan – Worksheet
  3. List of Resources

I’m done my novel, now what? The Quiz

Soooo I’m really excited about this, I’ve never made a quiz before so it’s pretty exciting. The purpose of this quiz is to help you if you’re unsure of what you want to do now that you have your novel. You can decide to keep your novel to yourself or to share it with the world!


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Here are the types of quiz results:

Personal Print Copy

You don’t want to share your novel, and that’s absolutely fine. But don’t just leave your novel sitting on your computer. You’ve made a great accomplishment! Think about getting a personal print copy bound for you, or doing a DIY and binding it yourself. Do an eBook even! But find a way to celebrate your work.


You want to get your work out there, but you also want to have all or most control of the final product. Self-publishing is a great idea for writers that want to be very involved in how their novel goes out. It’s also an option if you’re not interested in spending a lot of time submitting your work to literary agents and publishers.

Publish via a Publishing House

You want the world to see your novel, but don’t want to be too involved in the nitty-gritty details outside of writing. A publishing house will take care of all those details for you, and allow you to focus more on writing. But be ready to accept some criticism and work with others.

Goal Setting Plan – Worksheet

At the end of the post, as usual, is an option to download a goal setting worksheet. This worksheet will help you set a goal for your novel and devise steps to reach it. Having a plan how you increase your chances of success, whatever your goal may be.

The sections of the worksheet are as follows:

Step 1: Decide on a goal

Step 2: List the steps to reaching your goal

Step 3: Decide what you can do yourself, and what you’ll need help with

Step 4: Set a deadline

Step 5: Break up your steps into smaller steps

First, you want to decide on your goal, what do you want to do? Let’s say I want to make a personal print copy of my book, what steps do I need to take to get to this goal?

Example List:

  • edit book
  • format the book for print
  • get cover art
  • print and bind book

Now there’s a short list of things to do in order to reach the goal. Take a look at your own list, and divide the list into two sections: things you can do yourself, and things you need to outsource. If you’re self-publishing you may need to find someone to help you with copyrights for example. Or if you want to send your book to a publishing house, maybe you’ll want someone else to help you with editing. Or maybe you’re not that great of an artist, so you’ll need someone to help you with the cover art.

Next, you need to decide on a deadline for when you want to reach your goal. I know not everyone enjoys working with deadlines, but if NaNoWriMo has taught us anything, it’s that having a deadline pushes you to get things done. Without a deadline, a goal can dwindle into a dream, instead of a reachable target.

Next, you’ll want to break down your goal achieving steps into even smaller steps. For some people too many details in planning can make them feel weighed down or overwhelmed. But the pros of having more details is that you can decide exactly what you’ll need to do for each step. This will help you break down steps into more manageable chunks to keep organized. Below I’ve highlighted two examples of adding details to steps, one is more general and one is a bit more detailed, but both are effective at breaking the steps in sections.

Example 1:

  • edit book
    • do self-editing for the whole book
    • do a second revision
  • format the book for print
    • research formatting tips
    • use Microsoft word to format
  • get cover art
    • find someone with nice art
    • pay them to do a cover
  • print and bind book
    • get a quote from Staples for the cost to bind a book
    • give USB of formatted book to Staples

Example 2:

  • edit book
    • go through a make note of any plots holes
    • make sure all conflicts are resolved
    • make sure all tenses are in present
    • do an overall grammar/spelling/typo check
    • do a final read through out loud
  • format the book for print
    • research formatting for print books
    • use Apple Pages to put everything together
    • make sure all pages number are formatted correctly
    • add specialized font for chapter headings
    • do a final check of formatting
  • get cover art
    • brainstorm ideas for cover art
    • browse through Deviantart for an artist that matches idea for cover
    • get quote for art and Creative Commons licensing
    • put art into book file for print
  • print and bind book
    • find a printer that will print and bind the book
    • get quotes from several sources
    • choose a bookbinder and get book printed

And that’s it! You’ve set a goal and now you have a plan to execute it. The rest is up to you! But to help you along please feel free to consult the resources below.

List of Resources

Editing Your Novel

5 Writing Mistakes You’re Probably Making – This is all the basics of editing, but it’s good to keep a running list of grammar mistakes to look out for. The reading aloud tip is one I would recommend. Not only will it help with commas, but it’s great for finding awkward dialogue. If you say it and it doesn’t sound right, it won’t be good for the character.

Reedsey – this is a website that’s used to connect writers to services like editors and designers. If you want to submit your book to publishers or self-publish, it’s a site you may want to look into. It’s free to sign up and request quotes from people, and the payment is done through the website so you don’t have to worry about being swindled. Do not accept requests for payments outside of the site platform, because then you put yourself at risk. There’s a review of the site here if you want more details.

Hooked by Les Edgerton – over the years I’ve collected a lot of books about writing, and if I’m honest, this is the only book that actually changed my writing. It reads more like an essay, but this book will get you to writing an engaging opening that gets your reader’s attention. A great resource for polishing up your novel opening.

On Avoiding “Said” as a tag – I love this post, I often struggle with feeling like I’m using “said” or “says” too much in my writing. KM lets you know that it’s alright to use ‘said’ and even offers some points about when to use it and when to omit it. It’ll be a help when editing dialogue.

Self-Publishing / Personal Print Copy

Book Binding University – Damask Love has a great series that will show you have to bind your own book and trust me, it’s pretty fun. She uses a sort of cork board for the cover, but I used foam core and it worked just as well. This tutorial is for a small notebook but you could expand the method to bind something larger too!

Blurb – with blurb you can self-publish either print books or eBooks, and you can print one copy for yourself, or multiple copies if you plan to sell your work. They even have a free desktop software that you can use to edit and format your novel. Blurb also has in-house cover artists that you can hire to create your cover art if you need a hand with it. For a 300-page trade hardcover book, it’s $18.75 for 1 copy and $168.80 for ten to give you an idea of price. You can access their price calculator here

The Cost of Self-Publishing a Book – Jenny breaks down her own costs from self-publishing. I find that these prices are quite high, but this is a great resource for looking at the things you need to think about when self-publishing e.g. editing, proofreading, cover design, formatting, and printing

Canva – I use Canva for all my blog graphics, and SURPRISE you can use Canva to create book covers too. Create a Pinterest board of inspiration for your book and use it to help you design a cover. Just make sure you’ll have permission to use the images you find for publishing. StockSnap is a great website for free images you can use anywhere, or you can buy any image ($1 each) right off the Canva platform.

Self-Publishing Your Book – Regina is an amazing blogger and an even better business woman. I regularly follow her for tips about blogging, and her resources are how I learned to make the lovely worksheets I give you guys. She is a pro. This post gives great notes about the benefits of self-publishing over traditional publishing. She also talks about marketing which is pretty important when you’re self-publishing.

17 Crucial Things Authors Forget to Do When Self-Publishing – A guest post by Shayla Eaton, this is more like a list of suggestions for what to do when self-publishing. There’s a clear focus on how to market yourself and how to market your book. For those of you interested in how to sell your book, this is a great resource for ideas

Publishing via a Publishing House

8 Tips From Literary Agents about how to get published – This is a great quick article with some quality tips. I especially like the tip about having an online presence. If you already have a lot of fans on board, you look sellable, which is what you want. This might also help out if you don’t have a lot of previous publishing credentials.

The Complete Guide to Query Letters – If you want to talk about comprehensive, Jane’s got it. She didn’t get to the top of the google search for “Query Letters” without having something to offer. I love that she has a list of red flags because sometimes what not to do, can be as important as what you should do.

100 Agents to Submit Your YA Novel To Right Now – This list by Kaitlin was last updated in April 2015, so if you’re not sure where to start finding literary agents this is a great list. This list is clearly for those who have written a YA novel.

Guide to Literary Agents – I have the 2013 version of this, which was the last time I was looking into literary agents. This book doesn’t only give you a giant listing of literary agents, it also gives you information about writing query letters, preparing submissions and interviews with professionals in the field. If you only buy one book to help you along, this is the one you’ll want to get.

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What’s your goal for your novel? Let me know!

Do you have any links you’d recommend for this list? Please share them!

That’s the end of the “Nuts for NaNo” series! Click Here to gain access to all the worksheets for the series

*please note, this post contains affiliate links


  • Cait @ Paper Fury

    December 1, 2015 at 5:06 AM

    Ooh this is such a great post and SO many resources!! 😀 I’m probably going to start edits of my book in January. I don’t have any huuuge plans yet. I just want to see how the edits work out and go from there 😛 Maybe get some beta readers next year, maaaybe if I’m brave. XD I considered using one of the coupons NaNoWriMo offered to getting a discount on getting a proof bound up and sent. BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE EPIC. But I really want to hold my “book” for the first time the day it gets really published, so I’m gonna wait. 😉

    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

    • ltlibrarian

      December 1, 2015 at 9:51 AM

      January is a good time to start editing, I can’t imagine trying to get any of that done now with the hectic holiday season things. I ended up making a series so I’m probably not going to write the second book until then too. Maybe make it a resolution?

      That would be worth waiting for! I often fantasize about standing beside a display of my own books in a bookstore and guarding them lovingly. In practice that might end up being creepy but still!


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