From first draft to publication - a list
• Work out a plot and populate it with characters.
• Write your first draft from start to finish.
• Usually, tear it apart and rewrite it.
• Repeat the above until you have a workable novel.
• Now polish the thing to a mirror finish.
• Read my article on How to Get Published.
• (Optional: employ a freelance editor. Either for proofing or to give their opinion.)
• (Optional: Use online workshops to get feedback.)
Now you have a choice: traditional publisher, or self-publishing?
First, let's cover traditional publishing:
• Prepare your query letter, summary and sample chapters, and start approaching agents.
• (Every agent should be checked out - I suggest Preditors and Editors.)
• Based on the results of your queries, be prepared for rewrites.
• If approached, ask about the agent on Absolute Write.
• Do not sign with anyone until you've checked them out.
• This is really hard, but while you're going through the submission process, write the next novel.
• I do NOT recommend writing a sequel. Write a separate book, if you can.
• (If you write a sequel you can't sell it unless you sell the first book.)
• Once the agent sells your novel to a publisher, you'll be working with their editor
Alternatively, there's self-publishing:
• Editing is no longer optional. Seek a pro manuscript evaluation to discover the flaws in your work.
• After rewrites, hire a professional editor for structural edit. (Major plot problems, etc.)
• Hire a copyeditor and/or proofreaders to fix layout issues, inconsistencies and typos.
• Hire a cover artist and cover designer to make your book as professional as possible.
• Either hire an ebook designer for the inside, or learn how to do this properly yourself.
• For printed books, I recommend a pro designer.
• For the previous 3 steps, you can sometimes find a one-stop-shop.
• Once everything is ready, publish and promote!
Whichever you choose, best of luck!