Okay, so I am beginning to learn a little about the things I need to do with my completed work before I ever begin querying agents or publishers. One of the best gems on the internet is World Literary Cafe.
For one thing, once your story is complete, edit it. Twice, at least. Now, some people aren’t the best at grammar and spelling. Okay, well if you use Word to write, it should have a grammar check. RUN IT. If you don’t have that function on your computer, then I suggest you find an editor. Luckily, World Literary Cafe (WLC) does have some. Now, the advertisements I saw were for paid editors, and I’m not sure you can find a free one on there, but when you’re trying to get published, you really do need to spend money to make money, and no publisher is going to give you an honest chance if the first paragraph is chock full of issues.
Even if you’re self-pubbing, you need to spend some money and hire an editor. Because let me tell you, I’d be pissed if I spent money on a book that I could have my small child write and have it make more sense.
The next step is to get rid of all of your adverbs. Don’t know what an adverb is? GOOGLE IT! Again, some programs can run a search on adverbs, and you can eliminate many adverbs easily. Sometimes, you may consider leaving them in if it’s part of a character’s conversation or something, but there are very few exceptions to the rule there.
Anyway, back to WLC. Once you have edited at least once, you can consider getting a beta reader – which you can find volunteers on the website! Beta readers are people (typically more on the professional side) who will read your work and tell you where it doesn’t make sense, or sounds weird, or where there is a gaping plot hole you never filled because that detail was in your head the whole time. Beta readers are amazing because they offer an honest outside view on things you, as the writer, might overlook.
Anyway, all you aspiring writers need to go check it out if you haven’t already.