What To Do With An Unpublished Manuscript
The unpublished book. There must be millions of manuscripts that sit in a desk drawer, on a bookcase, or inside a computer. There are millions more ideas that never got turned into the books conceived in wannabe writers’ minds. Where do these books and outlines for books go? What happens to them?
It may be a strange thing for a book promoter to contemplate, for after all I get paid to promote books that exist and not the could-have-beens. But maybe there’s a connection between the two. Could there be a use for the unpublished materials and fantasies that swirl around a writer’s head?
My first suggestion is that if you have a shelved project, dust it off and take another look at. Perhaps now is the time to publish it, even self-publish if necessary. Why let a creation go wasted and unread?
My next suggestion is that you destroy it. Toss it to the wind and act as if it never happened. Yes, burn it. Crush the hard drive. Hell, toss the computer out. Why? Because this act of aggression will unburden you. Stop letting it eat away at you and laugh at you. It taunts and torments because it reminds you of unfinished business, even failure. Sometimes, like a bad relationship, you need to dump what’s weighing you down in order to feel free to pursue new people -- and new books. Do you feel fearful -- or liberated -- at the thought?
A third idea for the material you crafted, depending on what it is, that it can be repurposed. Maybe you publish some or all of it on your social media platforms -- blog it out, Facebook it, even Tweet it. But do something so you get some currency from what you invested countless hours and brainpower on.
A fourth idea is to give it a hard look and see if another writer or editor can help you salvage it. Or you may, with fresh eyes and time passed since you last wrote this book, will be in a position to give it a makeover and turn it into something better or different, something good enough to publish.
A fifth idea is to lock it away -- out of sight, out of mind -- and leave it for when you become famous. Then you’ll be ready to publish it or have it published posthumously by a relative or friend who would think that was what you would have wanted.
Maybe before you are in a position to do something about this aging, neglected manuscript you first have to confront why this glob of creation remains unpublished and unborn. Is it just not good enough? Is it too revealing about your life that it can’t be made public? Does the book need a lot of editing or cleaning up—and you’re just too lazy to do it? What happened that you let your dream just rot away?
Many authors have an unpublished book because:
· They couldn’t find a literary agent or a publisher -- and didn’t want to self-publish.
· The book said things that could compromise a relationship or career or be the subject of a lawsuit.
· The writer decided to write books in another genre and now it’s too late to write in both genres.
· Competing titles were just too good to go against.
· Some personal crisis arose and the book got pushed back.
I know all writers want to be published, received well, given critical honors and awards, to see their words impact others, and to create a legacy beyond their life. The unpublished book is revolting, painful, and crushing to the writer. It sits there in a way nothing else left over from years past can evoke such emotional torment and unrest.
Do something about it.
It doesn’t matter anymore that the book was never published -- unless it does matter, and if so, make one final effort to give it a home. Otherwise, exorcise your demons and free your soul of this anchor. No longer let it have any hold over you. Meditate on it. Consult your close friends and family. Speak to a therapist. But finally do something about it. It will feel as if the prison door has opened.
To learn more on how to promote books, read my greatest blog posts from the past five years and 2,000 posts:
2016 Book Marketing & Book Publicity Toolkit
2015 Book Marketing & PR Toolkit
2014 Book Marketing & PR Toolkit
Book Marketing & Book PR Toolkit: 2013
Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.
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