First Draft to Publication: How to Finish and Publish Your Book

Bookings closed, sorry!


What do you really want from writing? I’m guessing it’s not struggling over the occasional abandoned story that, feeling constantly frustrated and spending all day at work daydreaming about when you’re a ‘real’ writer and can spend all day just drifting away in a delicious haze of words.

Isn’t the dream to be an actual author? To write books. Real ones that people can read, that you’re proud of. For people to buy them so that you can spend more time writing. Freedom.

You’re probably closer than you think. If you have a finished novel, something in the middle of the second draft, or even if you’re nearly at the end of the first draft, you can do it.

The problem is that most writers get to this stage and give up. All through the planning and first draft you thought everything would be okay if you reached the end. Sadly, it doesn’t work like that. In reality, you finish the draft and realise you’ve only done 30% of the work.

The world is full of semi-finished novels, but guess what? Those people you’re insanely jealous of because they’ve managed to somehow get published? They didn’t get there by luck or because they knew the right people or because they had lots of time to write. Plenty of people have advantages, including you. You know how to write, after all.

Successful writers finish the job. Simple.

Yes, of course your book needs to be good enough and there’s an element of luck involved. But clearly your chances are higher if you finish the book then take the right steps to make it a success.

It’s not easy. If it was, everyone would be an author. The road to publication looks a bit like Mr Messy climbing one of those impossible staircases (apparently called Penrose Stairs). A big, confusing mess. Make life easier by getting help and inspiration from people who understand the process, who have been there and who can teach you things that will dramatically increase your chances of success.

And that’s what this class is about. Understanding yourself as a writer and what it means to be a writer these days. Finishing your book properly. Knowing your options and what steps to take next to give yourself the best possible chances of success.



Joanna Penn is the author of ‘Career Change’ and the #1 bestseller ‘How To Market A Book’. She also writes the bestselling ARKANE thrillers under J.F.Penn and currently has 7 books on the market in various formats.

Her site for writers has been voted one of the Top 10 Blogs for writers 3 years running and offers articles, audio and video on writing, publishing and book marketing. You can connect with Joanna on Twitter @thecreativepenn

She’s teaching a full-day seminar for us offering an overview of the process of finishing and publishing your book, covering:

The editing and revision process

How do you actually take your book from first draft to polished manuscript? What do you need to consider and how do you go about it and keep track? How do you know it’s finished?

The psychology of being a writer

There are many blocks to finishing your work and getting it into the world, including fear of failure. Joanna will discuss ways of working through these feelings, allowing you to become a productive writer.

Your publishing options

Should you aim for traditional publishing? Self-publishing? Something else entirely? Find out the pros and cons of the various options and learn how to avoid the scams in an increasingly crowded market.

What you need regardless of publishing route

Nowadays even traditionally-published authors need a platform. But what is a platform? Learn the basics of building one and get an audience for your work.


Date: Sunday 27th October 2013
Time: 10:00-17:00
Location:Urban Writers’ Retreat at The Cube, Shoreditch. I’m very sorry, The Cube has steps and isn’t suitable for wheelchairs.
Cost: £97, including lunch, tea/coffee and cake (of course!)

 Bookings closed, sorry!

Joanna teaches self-publishing masterclasses for The Guardian and will be presenting at the Writers & Artists Self Publishing in the Digital Age conference. You can read some of her feedback here. I’ve been following Joanna’s progress from IT business consultant to full-time author and entrepreneur for a few years now.

She’s been a big inspiration to me, and I’m thrilled that she’s agreed to teach this one-off class. I’m ready to take my writing seriously, to overcome all the mental junk getting in the way and commit to making it happen. I want to become a published author. What about you?