Frequently Asked Questions
- Now Novel Process
- Creative license
- Website help
- Writing feedback
- Editing, Design and Ebook Conversion
Now Novel Process
How do I sign up?
Look at the top right corner of the page, where it says ‘start your novel’. Click there and you’ll be taken to our sign up page where you can sign up via Facebook or using your email address. Once you click on the button to submit your user details you’re good to go.
How does it work?
Essentially the Now Novel process is broken up into 3 easy parts:
- Finding your idea
- Finessing your idea
- Writing your story
It’s a question and answer process, where you are guided towards developing your story idea with careful questions, while interacting with (and being motivated by) our supportive community.
Finding your idea
Feedback from our users is that people struggle to find a “good enough” idea, or have too many ideas. The Now Novel process helps you organize your thoughts to find out your best idea and then test it. From there we help you find out the mood and the underlying theme of your story.
Finessing your idea
Once you know what your story is about, you can begin putting some meat on the skeleton you’ve created. You are asked about the details of the plot, and you create your character and setting outlines.
Writing your novel
This is where you start to write your novel. You can use the skeleton you created in parts one and two to keep you focused on your story. While you write you can chat to other writers in Groups and critique each other’s work to improve your writing as you go.
Wait, what are Groups?
Now Novel Groups is the members-only part of the site where you can connect with other writers, critique each other’s work and chat. Groups can be based on a genre, a writing topic or another element (such as a particular gender or other identity).
How do I join a group?
Once you’ve logged into your account, go to the ‘Groups’ page. From here, click ‘Find a group’, then click on the title of the group that appeals to you:
Click ‘Join the group’. Now you’re part of your own committed group of writers! Scroll down to see the chat feed and introduce yourself to the rest of the group’s members:
There isn’t a group on my favourite genre/subject. What do I do?
Create a group – it’s easy. Simply click the link below ‘find a group’ on the main Groups page (‘Create a new group’), fill in the title and description and submit and you’re done. Remember to share your new group on social media and tell your writing friends where to join you.
How do I share my writing with my group?
Every time you share a piece of your work via Scribbles, a link to your submissions will appear in the live feed of the groups you belong to under ‘review these submissions’:
In the same vein, you can open up your favourite group and check the feed for new writing to read and critique.
How long will the process take?
That unfortunately is determined more by you than by us. The normal scenario is about 6 months from beginning to end. We recommend about 2 months to find out all of the elements of your novel (character, setting, central idea, story type), and then about 4 months to write it as a good timeline (long enough to get involved, not too long that you get dispirited). You can of course take longer, we love having you with us.
How do I know it works?
We know if works, but we’re not the best people to ask. You can read many of our reviews on our dedicated reviews blog page which we continue to update: Read our reviews here.
Your process seems very set, what if I don’t want to follow it?
The Now Novel process is created for the first-time writer who doesn’t know what their story is about, nor how to go about writing it. As a result there is a journey of questions to determine what your story is. If you already know some of these, it may feel a little rigid.
We have created notes for this reason where you can put your free text in where ever you like. Also feel free to jump straight into giving and receiving writing critiques if you already have a story idea and your novel is underway.
What is a story type?
We believe that everyone has their own story to tell, and that their story is unique. However there are similarities in all stories, and we try and isolate those as much as possible, as they give a pattern which can be used to develop your own story. By isolating these story types we can help guide you through writing your novel, and give you guidance on what has happened with similar scenarios in the past.
How does your deadline work?
Having a deadline means that you have an end goal to your book. It helps commit you to your writing, as well as let you know that it’s not an insurmountable goal. If you give us the amount of time you have to devote to writing your novel each week, we can then calculate how long it should take you.
Does Now Novel actually help write your novel? I mean, can I write chapters through Now Novel.com?
Absolutely – our Skeleton takes all the information you’ve inputted in the process (character, plot, setting, mood, theme and story elements) and gives you a guided process for the actual writing of the novel – what needs to happen when. You can submit any parts of your novel for helpful feedback, but Now Novel isn’t a word processor. You can however write Scribbles (extracts up to 500 words) and save them to your account privately.
Is Now Novel a more in-depth outline then the Free Online Templates you can find online?
Yes – it’s a process, not an outline. Our Character section, for example, has 91 questions to answer about your character. Our Plot Details take your Central Idea and Story Type and create plot-specific questions for you to answer so that you can determine what needs to happen when. Our Setting questions go into a lot of detail about what your novel will look, feel and smell like. It’s a tailormade experience, so as soon as you start working through it, we tailor the rest of the process to match your ideas.
Can I use Now Novel to write other books?
Now Novel is specifically designed to write novels. Short stories and all fictionalized works fit into this format. Biography and autobiography are more of a stretch, and we don’t recommend trying to write non-fiction (but if you manage to, please let us know, and we’ll buy you a coffee).
I’ve written my book, now what?
Well done, what a great achievement. We have a network of partners that we work with in order to help you edit your book, create a cover, and publish it on to numerous channels. Send us a mail at help at nownovel dot com, and we’ll be happy to refer you to you one of our recommended partners.
What is mentoring?
Our Now Novel mentors will lead you through the novel-writing process, encouraging you and providing extra motivation. We’ll help you refine your ideas, stay focused and achieve your goals, every step of the way.
To find out more, visit our mentorship page.
What if I don’t like my mentor?
We’ll find another mentor who is better suited to you. They’re all quite delightful, so this is unlikely.
Why should I use a Now Novel mentor?
Many writers find it difficult to focus on one idea and stay motivated for the duration of a novel. Others know they want to write a novel but can’t seem to find the time to do it. Our Now Novel mentors are experienced in all of the challenges that aspiring writers have. A Now Novel mentor is there to guide you through the process, discuss any problems you might be having and talk through what happens next. They’re like your personal writing therapist, on hand to talk through whatever you need to deal with to get you to the next stage of your novel. They also provide accountability: because you know you’re meeting your mentor, you’ll be sure to do your homework on time!
What exactly does the mentorship process look like?
Once you sign up for a Now Novel mentor, we’ll be in contact to find out about you and your writing background. We’ll understand your objectives and put a plan in place to help you get your novel completed. This includes a plan on how to effectively structure your writing life so that writing becomes a habit, and you will finish your novel. You’ll have regular email check-ups with your mentor to discuss anything that is bothering you.
How helpful is it to have a mentor?
Having a mentor guide you through the novel-writing process is enormously helpful – it guarantees that you won’t just quit this project mid-way, and will actually follow through and finish your novel. Having a mentor can also help you with writing problems you’ve had for years – do your characters seem a bit too sweet or too stereotypical? Do you quit your idea once you’ve written three chapters? Are you not quite sure how to cram all your ideas into one book? A mentor can help you with these problems, and guide you to solutions that really work. It is, quite simply, the most effective way to write your novel.
Who owns my story?
You own your story. We have no rights to your story, and it is 100% owned by you.
How can I share my work?
We have given you the facility to share your work on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook at strategic junctions in the process (finding your central idea and describing the mood). If you’d like us to add more opportunities for sharing, please let us know.
If you’re looking for individual feedback on your work, then it’s a good idea to get a Now Novel mentor – they will give you input on your writing and on the entire novel-writing process. Find out more about mentorship below.
Can people view the work I do on Now Novel? Or is it completely private? I do not want a story sharing website.
No, Now Novel isn’t a story sharing website at all. It’s a novel writing website, so if you don’t want to share anything you don’t have to (we can’t see anything you write). It’s entirely up to you whether you submit extracts for helpful critique by other Now Novel members.
How do I export what I’ve written?
Go to the button on the right-hand side which says Novel Blueprint, click on it and you will be able to download a pdf of your work to date.
Who do I contact for help?
Your first port of call would be to check through this “FAQ” to see if your query is one of the frequently asked variety. Otherwise drop us a mail on help at nownovel dot com and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
What email are you sending me?
There are four emails that you’ll get:
- Explanation emails for a limited number of weeks to guide you through getting started with Now Novel
- Weekly updates on the latest writing how to blog posts
- A weekly digest on all the latest happenings in your writing group(s)
- Exclusive giveaways and limited offers
- Any important notifications regarding your account or the Now Novel service
What is the dashboard?
The dashboard is the central part of the site, where you can control every part of your novel writing process:
The navigation along the top will take you to:
- 1. The blog where you can pick up tips and tricks and writing news
- 2. Now Novel’s online writing groups where you can chat to other writers.
- 3. Your profile where you can fill in further personal details, change your password, unsubscribe from emails and delete your entire account.
The navigation along the side will take you to:
- 4. The progress counter lets you know how much you have done of your outline
- 5. ‘Help’ links to the FAQ, and allows you to mail in any of your queries
- 6. The Novel Blueprint is a downloadable version of your novel, which gives you all your answers in an easy to read (and print) overview
- 7. The Scribble Pad is your space to write anything and everything you want and submit it for critique
- 8. The Expert Guides are essentially a book-length set of guides on the novel-writing process, free to download for paying users. They cover sections like setting, idea, writing your first draft, motivation and writer’s block
Can I start a second novel from scratch?
At present we don’t have a feature to write two novels using the story builder at the same time. Many writers restart their novels multiple times but this can become a form of procrastination and can be counter-productive. Sticking with one project until you are finished is challenging but talking through your challenges in Groups and having a writing mentor will make it easier.
What is your 100% money back guarantee?
Everything you buy from Now Novel comes with a No-Fuss Guarantee. If for any reason you are not happy with any product, simply let us know within 28 days for a full refund of the price you paid. This is in addition to your statutory rights.
If I don’t like the process, can I quit?
Of course. We recommend getting in touch first to see if we can help you with the process, we will process ASAP from here.
What is Now Novel like if I use it free?
We know you’re going to love Now Novel, which is why we want to give you a chance to use the process for free. The first three sections of Now Novel are entirely free: you can create your mood, find your central idea and test that it is definitely the right one. Once you pay a monthly subscription fee, you get access to the entire process, which includes finding your story type, plot, setting and character details (all very in-depth) as well as a guided process (called the Skeleton) for actually writing your novel once you have all the ingredients. You can also choose to have a Now Novel mentor guide you through the process – this means you’ll have someone on call to help you develop your novel and, ultimately, finish it. Find out more about mentorship below.
Why should I pay for Now Novel?
We’ve spent a lot of sweat and time, trial and error developing the Now Novel process until it is something that is useful for aspiring writers. We give away a taste of the process so that you have an idea of the value of it. Once you understand the value of it, we have no doubt that you’ll want to pay for the whole process because it is so helpful. In addition, if you want a Now Novel mentor to guide you through the process, you need to pay for their time and expertise. Find out more about mentorship below.
When do I have to pay?
We (and our paying users) think we offer a valuable service that you will be willing to pay for. But nobody wants to buy something they haven’t had the opportunity to test, which is why we offer you the opportunity to try out the Now Novel process. You can find out how the Now Novel process works by completing the first three sections: Mood Creator, Central Idea and Story Tester. At the end of this, you’ll have an understanding of how Now Novel works and have decided not only on the mood of your novel, but also the idea that will drive it. Having a Now Novel mentor to guide you through the process is a paid service.
Who manages your billing?
2checkout manages our billing for us. They are extremely vigilant in protecting every one of our transactions, and their PCI Level 1 Compliance is the highest level in the industry. This protects you (and us) from online threats. They have an aggressive Fraud Prevention program to keep you protected. Their three tiered protection strategy uses over 300 variables to identify fraud.
What payment methods do you offer?
We offer 8 payment methods:
- American Express
- PIN debit cards with the Visa or MasterCard logo
- Debit cards with the Visa or MasterCard logo
Some of these options are only available in select currencies.
How would I pay for Now Novel if I do not own a Credit/Debit card?
You can use PayPal if you have an account with them.
How do I get feedback on my writing?
You can submit extracts of your writing to the Now Novel community via your Scribble Pad. You can find out what people think of your characters, your opening sentences, excerpts from your book – or any other feedback that you might like from your writing peers.
How does feedback work?
It’s very simple: for every 3 critiques of other people’s work you do, you get to submit one of your own 500 word excerpts for critique.
How do I submit my work?
It couldn’t be easier, just follow these steps:
1. Sign in to your Now Novel account. On your account dashboard, click on the button on the right-hand side of the screen that says ‘Scribble Pad’ next to a pencil icon:
2. Click on the red button that says ‘add’ beneath the Scribble Pad introduction:
This leads you to the page where you can enter a title for your scribble or extract and save it to share, download or delete from sharing at any time.
3. Enter a title for your scribble and type or copy and paste the text of your story extract into the box labelled ‘content’:
4. On the page you see once you’ve clicked save, click ‘submit for feedback’ and other members will see your new submission in the live feed for Groups and in the Groups you’ve joined:
How do I critique other people’s work?
On the ‘Groups’ page, scroll down to see the live feed (where it says ‘Join the Conversation’) to see all the latest submissions for critique. You can also see the latest submissions by fellow members in a chronological feed in each of your groups. Click on the title of any submission and it will open and you will be able to read it and leave feedback. Please remember to be polite and give constructive feedback that will help the author improve their work.
What do the little men and the stars mean?
The little men represent how many critiques of other people’s work you have given, and the stars represent your own submissions.
Where can I see an overview of my critiques and submissions?
You can find an overview in two places:
- The Scribble Pad has an overview of all your scribbles, critiques and the feedback that you have received.
- Your Profile page gives you an overview of the critiques you have submitted and feedback received, as well as scribbles and the number of times you have given feedback. It will also give you the “balance” of outstanding crits that you have.
How do I keep my writing private?
Not all scribbles need to be submitted for Critique, they can still be used to jot down notes and pieces of a story for your own reference. They do not have to be shared.
Editing, Design and Ebook Conversion
I’ve finished my novel – now what?
Congratulations – finishing a novel is a huge achievement that very few writers accomplish! Once you’ve finished your manuscript, you need to decide what you would like to do with it: do you intend to submit it to traditional publishers, or would you like to self-publish your work? Whichever option you choose, Now Novel can assist you in taking the next step.
Whether you self-publish or submit your manuscript to publishing houses, it is vital that you first revise your manuscript with the assistance of a professional editor. There are three different levels of editing: proofreading, copyediting and developmental editing. Now Novel offers a manuscript assessment service, and our professional editors will advise you on which type of editing you need to pursue.
We also offer a manuscript critiquing service for authors who would like feedback on their novels, but are not yet ready to commit to a full edit. A manuscript critique will provide you with a report identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your manuscript, together with suggestions for revisions and improvements.
If you have questions about the editing or critiquing processes or our services, get in touch.
Can you help me to self-publish my book?
Yes! For self-publishers, we provide an end-to-end service from editing, print layout, cover design and ebook conversion. We can also advise you on how to get your book onto the large stores like Amazon.
Can you help me submit my manuscript to a publisher?
Yes and no. While we are not literary or publishing agents and cannot present a manuscript to a publisher on your behalf, we can help you to ensure that your manuscript makes the best impression possible if you wish to submit it to publishers yourself. We offer thorough and professional editing services to assist you in perfecting and polishing your novel, and we can also help you with writing personalised cover letters and manuscript synopses that will make an impact. Please contact us to enquire about our “Publisher Submission Package” if you’re interested in submitting your work to traditional publishing houses.
Can you prepare my book for online publishing?
Yes! contact us about our self-publishing packages.
I want to take advantage of the manuscript assessment service. What do I need to give you?
Contact us to find out more about our manuscript assessment service. We will let you know exactly what the process entails, and what we’ll need from you to get started.
What is the difference between proofreading, copyediting and developmental editing, and which service do I need?
Every author – whether they are a first-time novelist or a bestselling professional – needs a good editor to help polish and perfect their manuscript before it is ready to publish. Many authors believe that they need a proofreader or copyeditor when they would benefit far more from a developmental edit, particularly if they intend to self-publish their novel. Now Novel offers various different editing packages to suit the needs of both your manuscript and your budget. Our editors will be happy to assess your manuscript and provide you with advice on the best way to proceed. Contact us to find out more.
The first and most important step in the editing process is called developmental editing (also known as substantive, content or line editing). This involves your editor delving deeply into the mechanics of your story to identify problems and suggest potential solutions. A developmental editor will help you with plot development and continuity problems, characterisation, weak or unnatural dialogue, and other stylistic and structural issues. Essentially, a developmental edit is like a consultation with your editor, who will help you with the content as well as the style of your novel. It’s an in-depth and lengthy process, but well worth it in helping you to produce your best possible work.
Copyediting deals with the mechanics of language and style, rather than content. It is smaller in scope than developmental editing, and will address problems with grammar, spelling, punctuation, ineffective or awkward dialogue and description, and other stylistic inconsistencies.
Finally, proofreading is the least intensive form of editing, and usually only occurs after a manuscript has been laid out by a typesetter and is ready to be published. Most people are familiar with the term “proofreading”, but this is actually the last step in the book editing process. A proofreader will look for small errors, like punctuation and spelling, that might have slipped through during the previous editing stages. All manuscripts need to be professionally edited by a developmental or copyeditor before they reach this stage.
For authors who are not yet ready to commit to a full edit, but would like more general feedback on their novel, we also offer a manuscript critiquing service.
What is the difference between the editing and manuscript critiquing services?
A manuscript critique will provide you with a detailed report on the quality of your manuscript in its present form, and suggestions for improvement and revisions. While a developmental edit will provide you with in-depth feedback at a textual level and assist you with implementing actionable improvements, a manuscript critique will focus on the broader features of your narrative and identify any potential weakness that you may wish to address during the revision process.
A manuscript critique provides a detailed report that will include:
- Comments on the content of the manuscript, including but not necessarily limited to plot progression, characterisation, dialogue, and setting.
- An evaluation of the structure of the narrative and suggestions for improvement.
- The identification of major narrative issues, including plot inconsistencies or weaknesses.
- An appraisal of the manuscript’s marketability, based on the intended audience and genre as identified by the author.
- Answers to up to three direct questions posed by the author.
- Advice on how to proceed with submission to traditional publishers or self-publishing.
If you choose our manuscript critiquing service and later decide that you would like to upgrade to a full developmental edit, the price of the critique will be deducted from the cost of the developmental edit.
How much will editing cost, and how long will it take?
Because every manuscript is different, we offer a comprehensive manuscript assessment service to ascertain the best way to proceed with revising your completed manuscript. Our professional editor will evaluate a sample of your manuscript and provide a detailed proposal outlining the editing process and the costs involved.
Our rates are competitively based on industry standards and differ according to which service you require. To give you some idea of what to expect, a manuscript critique on an 80,000 word manuscript will cost approximately $550. The developmental edit of an 80,000 word manuscript will cost somewhere in the region of $3,000 to $4,800 and take two to three months to complete (depending on how long the author takes with the suggested revisions). Copyediting an 80,000 word manuscript will cost between $1,400 and $1,900 and will be completed within three to four weeks.
What if I don’t like my editor’s advice?
Though the rules of grammar never change, developmental editing is a subjective process. Our editors are highly knowledgeable professionals, but if you disagree with their advice regarding the content or style of your manuscript, you are under no obligation to implement their suggestions. Author feedback is a vital part of the editing process, so if you have questions or problems, we strongly encourage you to discuss them with your editor.
In what format should I submit my manuscript to the editor, and what will it look like when I get it back?
Your manuscript should be submitted to the editor in MS Word format, preferably formatted to 1.5 line spacing and in one of the default fonts (such as Times New Roman).
If you have chosen our developmental or copyediting services, our editor will return the manuscript with tracked changes and comments in the right margin of the Word document, together with a separate report giving more general feedback. The tracked changes in the document will indicate where the editor has made alterations to the text, while the comments will contain suggestions and feedback for the revision process.
If you have submitted your novel for a manuscript critique, you will receive a comprehensive report identifying its strengths and weaknesses, together with suggestions for revisions and improvements. A manuscript critique does not include tracked changes or comments on the manuscript itself.
The editor has returned my edited manuscript – now what?
Revise, perfect and polish! Your editor will provide you with feedback and advice on how best to improve the quality of your manuscript; it is now up to you to implement those suggestions. While fine textual corrections to grammar and spelling will be completed by the editor, your manuscript remains in your control, so any major revisions or rewrites are your responsibility. If you have chosen our developmental or copyediting services, you will usually return your revised manuscript to the editor for a second round of editing. Once you are satisfied with the final revisions, it is your decision to self-publish or to submit the manuscript to a traditional publisher.
How much does cover design cost?
We offer a variety of packages depending on your budget and needs, but cover design usually starts at $200 for the basic package. Get in touch with us to find out more.
Why should you create a cover for me when I can get one done for $20 online, or even do it myself?
A professionally designed cover can make all the difference in ensuring that your book has a fighting chance in the competitive open market. A good cover will help your book appeal directly to your intended readers and attract attention for the right reasons.
Yes, there are graphics programs like Photoshop that you can use to make your own cover, but cover design goes far beyond just being able to use the programs. Considerations like colour choice, layout and the target market at which your book is aimed are all things a professional designer can help you with.
A cover should be unique to your book. A good cover captures the essence of your story and helps catch the reader’s eye. There are websites that offer cheap, ready-made covers which may appeal to you, but could be totally wrong for your book. These sites also don’t offer revisions and have a “take it or leave it” approach to cover design, so beware.
At Now Novel, we work with you to develop a custom-made cover that is right for your book and your market.
How much does ebook conversion cost?
We charge a fixed price of $250 for ebook conversions, no matter what the length of the book.
Can’t I just use a free ebook converter?
You can, but ebooks are highly complex files that require customised programming, and the online stores often detect that a free converter has been used and reject a book on that basis. Free converters can also do strange things to formatting and end up making your book unreadable.
At Now Novel, we provide a comprehensive ebook conversion service which includes the coding, testing and validation of your ebook. We also capture and insert your book’s meta-data, which is vital in ensuring that it is indexed correctly in the online stores. If a book is incorrectly indexed because of poor or incomplete conversion, your potential readers may not be able to find it.
Once the conversion is complete, we also provide you with a test ePub and instructions on how to view it so that you can check the conversion for yourself. We can also offer advice on how to upload your book, as well as on pricing strategies.
How much do you charge for print layout and typesetting?
We charge $3.50 per laid-out page. This fee includes a sample chapter layout, so that you can sign off the look and feel of your book, as well as one round of minor text amendments once the typesetting is complete.
For example, an 80,000 word novel using the standard 6 x 9 inch book size would end up being around 200 pages and cost $700 to typeset.
It is important to bear in mind that typesetting a book for print and converting it to an ebook are two entirely separate processes. Get in touch for more information and we can talk through your options.
Can’t I just use Word and typeset my own book?
No. Word is simply not designed to be anything more than a Word processor.
At Now Novel, we use Adobe InDesign for all of our typesetting projects, which gives us a degree of control over the text which is far superior to what Word can offer. We also bring our extensive experience in typesetting books to bear on your text so your novel is readable, looks professional and flows correctly.
In addition to this, we also have experience getting books ready for print-on-demand sites such as Lightning Source or Createspace. Getting files ready for these sites can be a frustrating process, as they have strict submission requirements which are difficult to conform to using Word.