Tips for Finishing Your Manuscript

A manuscript is a written document submitted to a publisher for review and possible publication as a book, magazine article, or other resource. Manuscripts cover a wide variety of topics and genres such as fiction, nonfiction, memoir, poetry, or even research papers. 

Typically, a completed manuscript is submitted to publishers or literary agents for consideration of publication. Before submitting a manuscript, the writer must revise, edit, and proofread to make sure the manuscript is in the best possible shape to catch a publisher’s eye. It must also meet the publisher’s submission guidelines, usually available on their website, and that includes using the preferred file format which is typically Microsoft Word or PDF.

Are you interested in writing a manuscript? 

First, ask yourself if you are willing to invest the time required. If the answer is yes, make sure you’re committed. You need a clear vision and goal, passion for the project, and determination to reach the finish line. While it’s no small task, it is doable.

If you have an unfinished manuscript, here’s our best advice for completion. This information will be of particular benefit to authors considering publishing with a Hybrid Publisher, but the information is applicable to every author.

6 Tips for Finishing Your Manuscript

1. Take Time to Plan Your Story

Having a plan before tackling your manuscript helps minimize distractions and keeps you focused on what’s important. Creating a structure or outline to reference is key. Having an end goal also ensures you achieve your objective. Stay flexible, however. Writing inevitably means learning more about your subject matter, and that means you may develop new, important ideas along the way. 

2. Set Realistic Goals and Celebrate Your Wins

Finishing a manuscript requires creativity, dedication, and discipline. Take some time to set realistic daily goals that relate directly to the project at hand. Break down what needs to be finished each day to reach your milestones, and then work diligently toward them. And don’t forget to celebrate every win along the way—even the small ones.

3. Utilize Writing Resources for Authors

Stay on track and manage any challenges that arise by taking advantage of a wide array of available writing resources. Aspiring authors can benefit from platforms like Medium or Substack with tools to publish and receive feedback and followers. NaNoWriMo, another popular resource, allows authors to track their progress, set goals, and participate in a writing community. 

4. Find a Support System of Fellow Writers, Readers, or Editors

A support system such as the aforementioned NaNoWriMo is helpful for finishing a manuscript. Whether that means joining a writing group for feedback and encouragement, getting advice from an editor about the best way to structure your story, or finding trustworthy readers who are excited about helping you shape your work, you need someone in your corner!

5. Take Breaks to Stay on Track

It’s easy to get bogged down in details while trying to finish a manuscript. Don’t let yourself burn out. Regular breaks involving movement or fresh air help release stress and revitalize your creative thinking process. Writing is a mental task, and just like your body, it needs rest. 

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help When Necessary

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed if things seem complex or challenging. Asking for assistance with your manuscript is never something writers need to be ashamed of. Reach out to a friend, your publisher, hire a professional editor or mentor, or find a writing coach for helpful feedback and advice.

Finishing a Manuscript Isn’t Easy

Finishing a manuscript can be a long and arduous process, but you can get there if you commit to your goal and follow these tips. You’ll be ready to submit your manuscript to a publisher in no time.

Explore more Resources for Authors available on our website.

Tips for Finishing Your Manuscript