So, you just finished writing your first novel and now you want to feed that monster you have slain to the public? Alright, that’s a logical next step. Though be warned, this part will be much more tiring compared to writing it.
First, you must start with the preparation. You must take this loosely formed ball of clay and turn it into a masterpiece. Now, you probably want to get back into it and start editing right? Nope, sorry, denied. You need to distance yourself from your work for a bit. Step away from it and don’t touch it for a month. Instead, enlist the help of anyone you know willing to read it and give you input. If you are going ask this of someone of course, it is best to print it out for them. Make sure you print it double spaced so there is room them to make notes.
After you’ve had several friends, preferably your more literate ones, read over and make notes on your work and a month has passed, you are now ready to begin revising. As you review your friend’s, hopefully useful, notes, make sure you take them with a grain of salt. If they did their job, their notes will probably be a little harmful to your ego. Remember, they’re for the best. You want to get published right? When editing it based on their notes by the way, you don’t have to listen to every single recommendation. It is your creation after all, though you should keep an open mind as well.
Once your edits are finished, it is time to consider preparing a query letter. Getting published isn’t as simple as printing out your manuscript and mailing it off to a publisher like you see in the movies. You need to put together a query letter. For advice on how to formulate one check the following link: http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx
With your query letter ready, begin searching for literary agents that match your novel’s genre. Begin sending out your query letter to agents. While you don’t absolutely need one, they make getting published significantly easier as they will get your foot in the door with many publishers and will help with the legal aspects of getting published when the time comes. http://www.agentquery.com is an excellent resource for finding agents to query.
Once you have landed an agent, they will handle the rest of the process really for getting published. Though there will still be revisions on your part until the final deal is made.
If for some reason you cannot find an agent to take you on as a client, which is not unheard of by even bestselling writers, then you may begin sending your query letter to publishers just as you did with agents.