If you’ve used the pandemic lockdown as a time to write that novel you always knew you had in you, congratulations! You’ve taken the depressing, horrific lemon that was 2020 and turned it into literary lemonade.
You deserve a great big “Congrats!” and several pats on the back. You are awesome.
But if you’re thinking of publishing that novel now that you’ve finished it, you might want to hold off for a bit. Especially if you’re hoping to make some money from it.
Even though you’ve typed that satisfying “the end” on that book, chances are good that it’s not ready to publish. Or even to go to an editor.
Self-publishing has freed up a lot of writers and allowed them to express themselves without the restraints of corporate publishing. But just because you CAN publish that magnum opuswith a minimum of fuss doesn’t mean you should—yet.
The truth is it takes a long time to learn to write well. Even if you were an English major. If you’ve only written one novel or memoir, you’re still in the learning phase. Keep writing and start something new. Write some short pieces and start sending them out to journals and contests. Work on your next book. Start a blog and learn to write for an online audience.
And read, read, read. Read books on craft and marketing as well as novels in your genre.
Then when you go back to that book, you’ll have fresh eyes and new skills. I promise your work will improve because of them and you’ll be relieved that you didn’t publish too soon.