So you've worked hard on a manuscript. Turned it into a slick presentable story that if you hadn't edited it soooooooooooooooooooooooooo many times, you'd love to read. You've written THE END. And, as stated, edited to within an inch of its life.
A bit of advice. I had a wonderful editor at one stage and she gave me the most sage advice I think an editor can give. (Strangely now I think of it, a teacher at art school - a sculptor said basically the same thing but back to front. I'll tell you in a minute.)
ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST EFFORT. ALWAYS MAKE IT THE BEST THING YOU HAVE DONE UNTIL TODAY. TOMORROW YOU WILL GET BETTER BUT TODAY IT IS YOUR BEST. NEVER HAVE THE WANT TO PUT IT IN YOUR BOTTOM DRAWER AND FORGET ABOUT IT ONCE YOU MIGHT BE RICH, FAMOUS AND SUCCESSFUL.
While the sculptor said:
Keep your first sculpture so you know how awful you used to be. (He was a pessimist. And my marks never quite got over the point of 'could try harder'. I felt the same way about his teaching methods.)
You send off your manuscript to whatever fate is intended for it. And who ever says YES that isn't your mother, magically the thing turns into a book waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down the line - talk year - six months if you really are optimistic.
By that stage you are well into your next manuscript. Agonising over GMC, plot, research. You know all about whatever setting you've chosen, be it history, future, or present. They are a new set of best friends in a new world you are creating. Your intimacy with them is probably as much as you are with yourself. They live inside your head, go with you wherever you go, make you as boring as bat's teeth to be with and when other people are with you they must go:
SNAP! in front of face and say "Zara? Earth to Zara! Anyone at home?"
Then one day a bulky parcel arrives. You don't realise it at first so you dump it on the kitchen bench. Make a coffee, listen to something that distracts you on the radio and only then remember that there's a bulky parcel on the kitchen bench waiting for you. What could it be?
OH MY GOD IT'S MY NOVEL.
Well, (!!!!) you really really really did forget about it. It's been at least six months but probably more towards a year. You got to loathe it you read it so many times. But here it is. The cover you loved or hated during the editorial stage. The blurb on the back, and the stiffness of unopened pages groaning their way into your life. Out pops the smell of a new book, one of the smells you've loved since you were a kid. This is a solid mass of paper and cardboard you have aimed at with such a labor of love and agony. And the object of which you have set yourself the agony of a subsequent novel.
And it goes - actually goes onto a bookshelf. Other people will read it, enjoy it, misunderstand it. It will attract good comments, bad comments and indifferent comments. Some of the reviews will depress you until you realise that YOU DID IT! They probably didn't do it but YOU DIT IT.
YOU WROTE THE NOVEL, GOT IT PUBLISHED AND IF YOU DIE TOMORROW YOUR NAME WILL STILL BE ON AMAZON. YES AUTHOR, YOU ARE UNIQUE. NOT MANY PEOPLE DO WHAT YOU DID BUT YOU DID IT. YOU DID IT AND YOU DID IT!
Enjoy it. It's the best feeling in the world.