Alright, now that you have a huge gathering of words that make you cringe completed, What do you do after that?
Easy. You edit.
If you have been waiting for a magical entity to appear out of nowhere and fix all your mistakes in the mess you call your book, the I hate to burst your bubble but it won’t happen. You have to take the initiative.
Now you may say “but there are professional editors, what about them?”
Well do you really want to give your current manuscript to them. You know the one that looks like it can’t be salvaged whatsoever.
For all the non-author folks or the budding authors reading, you might be thinking that I am being very harsh but this is the reality. The first draft of a manuscript suck, if not to the readers then to the author. We view our first draft like it is the spawn of the devil that we summoned by mistake.
Do you really want to give someone that to read? No, right. So get to editing.
What do you need to edit?
Grammatical errors, continuity errors, chapters that you are too ashamed to show (we all have those) and unnecessary details. Edit as many times as it takes to make the shame of sharing your book go away.
Once you have done that, it is time for Beta readers.
Who are beta readers? They are samples of your target audience that will read your manuscript before it is published.
How do you get them? They could be your friends, your family, strangers you met on the internet or in a meetup, they could be anyone who wants to read your book and usually reads your genre.
What to do after you get them? You send them your books one chapter at a time and then ask a few questions like:
What happened in the chapter?
Do you like the direction where the story is going? (only for later chapters)
What do you think will happen later?
You can then add any question in the same vein that you think will be appropriate. Then collect what they said and try and make sense of it. The details of this analysis is something I might cover later sometime.
Once you have analyzed the data, you make the changes you find appropriate.
Then it is off to the publisher or editor if you are self publishing.
Ps: do not rely too much on your editors, they sometimes make things worse. For example in my published book, there are more grammatical errors than in the draft I sent them.
And I am sorry for not posting in a while, I had my birthday yesterday and I am Eighteen now!