So you’re finally done with writing the first draft of your story, and you are wondering what now? How do I go from my rough draft to publishing a book? There is a lot that needs to happen between writing your story and finally publishing your book.

This blog is the second blog post of this blog post series, and in this blog, we’ll discuss what needs to happen when you have finally finished writing that first draft. At the end of this blog post, you’ll find a free printable checklist.

If you’re wondering how to write the first draft, you can look at the first blog post here. There I discuss 7 things to think about before writing your first fiction story.

Okay, let’s get into it.

A laptop, a cup of tea, and a book on a desk. There is a text overlay that says Writing tips: What to do after you have finished your first draft

Disclaimer: This post may contain some affiliate links. That means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase something through the links.

What comes after the first draft of your story is finished?

Rereading it yourself and editing

The first thing you want to start doing is reading your rough draft yourself. Your first draft will probably have mistakes in it, and maybe you come across certain parts you want to re-write completely.

While reading, you can start editing the mistakes you come across and change the things you think would work better in your story.

After you have re-read your draft, it’s time to edit it yourself. Now, instead of reading it to see if the story reads well and if you’re satisfied with the story as its whole, you are reading to find mistakes in the text.

How to edit my first draft?

If you are great in the language of your book, you can edit it entirely by yourself for this phase. But if you’re not, you can go about it in two ways.

The first way is trying a spell and grammar checking tool. For English, I use the tool called Grammarly. This is a great tool you can use for free or get a paid subscription. It is a great tool that gives you many helpful tips.

The second way is by paying someone to edit your manuscript. You can pay someone for several types of editing, such as copy editing, developmental editing, or line editing.

Find a or a couple of beta readers

When you have re-read your manuscript a couple of times, it went through a couple of editing phases, and you’re satisfied with it, it’s time to let someone or a couple of people read your manuscript for feedback.

These people are called beta readers. Beta readers are people that read your manuscript before it is published. They can be friends, family members, or someone who identifies as a professional beta reader.

You can also find beta readers in Facebook groups or other platforms. The point of beta readers is that they can give you feedback from a reader’s perspective. Feedback on the plot, how they liked the way the story is written etc. They give feedback on points that you, as the writer, may have overseen.

Process the feedback

After the beta reader has given you feedback, it’s time to process that feedback. You don’t have to use all the feedback, of course. How you handle the feedback and how much of it you implement is up to you.

But it is important that you keep an open mind and are open to receive feedback because why else would you give it to a beta reader? And at the end, you want it to be a good story for the readers, so feedback from a reader’s perspective can be helpful.

If you’re not so sure if the feedback from one beta reader makes sense, or if you’re not completely satisfied with their feedback, you can always ask more than one beta reader.

Get a professional editor for proofreading

Now that you have re-read and edited your manuscript, got feedback from beta readers, and implemented that feedback, it’s time for the final phase of your manuscript.

This phase is called proofreading and is yet another editing phase. I advise getting a professional to do this phase, especially if your earlier editing phases were done by yourself. And also, especially if you’re planning on self-publishing.

It’s always better to get a fresh set of eyes on your manuscript. Suppose you’ve seen a manuscript many times already, even written it yourself. In that case, there is a big chance there are mistakes you won’t even notice anymore.

That’s where a professional proofreader comes in—someone who is trained in finding certain mistakes and sees your work for a final editing job.

Wrap up

And that’s a wrap. These are some important steps to help you go from your first draft to publishing your book. For every step, it is entirely up to you how you would like to implement it.

You can edit your rough draft yourself, for example, or pay someone to do it. You can find a professional beta reader or ask a friend or family. Even how many times you edit it and how many beta readers you get is up to you.

Some people say that you don’t need to get a proofreader if you’re going for traditional publishing, but also that step is up to you.

I hope these points were helpful to you and can help you go from your first draft to your final manuscript. In the next blog post, we’ll discuss how to go from your final manuscript to publishing your book.

Before you go, don’t forget to grab your checklist.


Good luck!
Keep reading this blog series. The next blog is: 11 Great Tips to Finally Publish Your Book

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