You’ve just written your first novel. You’ve revised plot holes, strengthened your character arcs, and spent many sleepless nights wondering how to make it all come together. But at long last, it is finished! You’ve spent hours pouring over it making sure there aren’t any typos or commas out of place. It’s 3 am and you’ve already had a whole pot of coffee, but hey your first novel is complete! You’re feeling proud of your accomplishment, as you should be, but you’re wondering what to do now.
But what do you do with it next? Look into writing query letters? Send it off to publishers or literary agents? Try to publish it yourself?
Nothing. Don’t do anything with it…just yet.
3 Big Reasons not to Publish Your First Novel
You’re probably thinking, wait, do I just through it in a pile under my bed, never to see the light of day?
Definitely not! By the end of this post you’ll realize that I’m not suggesting you NEVER publish your first novel. I just don’t think you should publish it first. So set it aside, but put it somewhere you’ll be able to find it again. Because you will need it again. Display it in a place of honor if you want. That first novel is special and amazing. You wrote it, and you should absolutely be proud of it. You just might want to hold off on trying to publish it right away.
It Won’t be Your Best Work
As your first, it likely isn’t going to be your best work, and publishing it will set the stage for the kind of writer people think you will be. So, publishing a better novel first will make you more impressionable and will give you a better reputation as an author. Your books will be held up to a higher standard and people will be more likely to read what you publish in the future. So, write a second novel, or a third, or even a fourth or fith, and practice the things you struggled with in your first. Which leads me to the second point.
Writing More Novels Will Give You More Practice
The more you write the better your writing will become. Your second novel will be better than your first. Your third novel will be better than your second. The more you write, the more you learn about writing. As you write a second or third novel your character development and plot will strengthen. You will learn from the mistakes of your previous novels. Trying to publish your second or third novel will increase your chances of being accepted because your manuscript will more likely be worth publishing.
Just don’t let yourself fall into the cycle of thinking you always have to write the next novel. Don’t let the need to write a better novel keep you from ever publishing any of your novels. Don’t let the idea of the next novel being better become an excuse that causes you to delay or feed your fear of being rejected.
Writing More Novels Will Give You Time to Learn About Publishing
As you write your second or third novel, take time to learn about the publishing industry. The publishing industry is constantly changing and improving. There are always new tricks to the trade. And different publishers or agents will accept different types of manuscripts. So, while you improve your writing, do your homework. Learn about self-publishing and how it compares to traditional publishing. Decide which type of publishing is best for you.
But, once you have written a few novels and you have a solid understanding of the publishing industry and the route you want to take, don’t let anything hold you back! Send out the query letters, format your e-book. Do what you gotta do!
There are several valid reasons not to publish your first novel first. But that doesn’t have to mean you never should! Once you’ve written several novels and feel you have one worthy of publication, you can go back to your first novel and bring it up to the standard of your current writing ability.
Do you agree, or not? Let me know in the comments below!