So you’ve reached the end of your manuscript, finally! For the fourth time. In approximately 20 years. Pat yourself on the back? Hold on. You’ve only just begun. Huge decisions lie in wait.

Who will edit? Who will beta read? Which to do first? OMG, you better have a proofreader lined up for after the revisions.

What about a cover design? Can you pull it off on your own? A test run of your own feeble attempts proves that you need a professional.

What happens when you get the manuscript back from your beta readers and your editor?

When two readers recommend, almost verbatim, the same thing, you’d better pay attention. Groan. They want a sample of her writing? My god. That’s buried somewhere in one of several boxes that are NOT organized, categorized, or catalogued. Just the thought of digging through all that stuff again is enough to delay progress by at least a week, or two. And then, faced with it again, another procrastination while changing the summer wardrobe to fall, which leads to doing laundry, which all distracts from the search.

The first box delivers nothing useful. The second box, why is that even still there under the bed? It’s only got two fat photo albums in it and those are relatively current—depicting the journey to Germany in 1978. Sigh. The other two big boxes are holding up Fibber McGee in the closet. Just diving into those boxes is a scary plunge into secret passages with mysterious tunnels.

One reader wants to know what type of fan is in the 1950s car without air-conditioning. What kind of fan? Well, the fan in the damned dashboard, of course! Does it have some sort of name? Google—unsuccessful. Out to car in the garage, search the owner’s manual— All sorts of info about “Climate Control.” References to the fan. Ah hell. It’s a fan. That’s all. Next?

Some comments elicit a nod and a quick fix. Others are more troubling. Table the manuscript and read a book for a while. Mull the problem for a few days.

The post-drafting, pre-publishing process proceeds in fits and starts. Maybe it will be finished before Christmas, which is the optimal time. But maybe not. It’s taken 20 years, what’s another month?Link to book