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What to do With Your Unpublished Manuscript – Steve Braunias

I’m a young writer and I have a great first draft sitting in my drawer, but I don’t know what to do with it now that I’ve written it. What should I do first?

Rewrite it – immediately! Be daring and vicious, and scrap thousands of words, change things around, introduce new characters. You will feel liberated!

How important is editing and spell check really? Does it matter in this age?

Totally 100% vital and important. Writing is a serious business; take it seriously. Spelling mistakes are the sign of an amateur who doesn’t really care. A singer wouldn’t ask anyone to listen to an audio recording of them singing out of tune.

What about an agent? Do I need one? How can I find one?

If you have written a book that you think might have vast popular appeal – a thriller, or a romance, or some kind of genre fiction – then you should talk to an agent. Otherwise, no. The best agent in NZ is Nadine Rubin Nathan. Her contact details are online.

I think my manuscript is pretty good. But how do I know if it actually is? Should I get my friends to read it?

You’ll never really know! Sure, ask your friends; but keep asking yourself, and working on the book to make it as good as you can.

What about just sending it straight to a publisher? Is that a good idea?

Sure, you could. It’s not a terrible idea. Have faith in your genius! But be prepared for letters of rejection.

Should I take rejection letters as a sign to give up?

No, take them as a sign your genius is yet to be discovered! It’s never nice to be rejected for anything. Actually it sucks. But every single writer receives rejection letters. It’s just standard. You have to expect it and then when they do arrive, you have to respond by doing the one thing that matters: keep writing.

Okay, I’ve self-published my novel. How can I get it reviewed?

You probably won’t get it reviewed. Books by mainstream publishers are reviewed, not self-published books. But you can bypass traditional reviews, and investigate things like GoodReads

Should I hassle editors of news/literary sites to review my book? Is there any sure fire way of getting their attention?


What about blurbs? I know they’re important, but how can I get an established writer to blurb my book?

Don’t bother anyone with that request; do it yourself. Enjoy total creative control over every aspect of your masterpiece!

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