So, you’ve decided to publish your book – congratulations! We’re excited for you…but what happens now?
We’ve been working with authors for a long time now – well over a decade, in fact! The most common questions that crop up again and again are around the publishing process: “when do I edit…get a cover…get an ISBN…etc?”
It can be a steep learning curve, and we totally get that it can all feel a bit overwhelming. So grab a cup of tea and a biscuit, and breathe. We’re going to run through the stages of publishing for you now.
First draft done
When your first draft is done, the first thing you do is celebrate! Many of writers don’t get this far…
“Look, writing a novel is like paddling from Boston to London in a bathtub … Sometimes the damn tub sinks. It’s a wonder that most of them don’t”.Stephen King, quoted in the New York Times
If your tub floated all the way to a finished manuscript, enjoy that moment. Then you can revise and re-read until you’re sure your manuscript is at its best. This might also be a good time to get trusted friends or beta-readers involved. But remember to use their feedback constructively to help you get to a final draft – and don’t edit by committee! It’s your voice that matters most – stay true to it.
When you’ve got your final draft you might, if your budget allows, bring in the professionals to help you publish your book. This stage, as the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading describes, is about making your text “accurate, clear and fit for purpose”. It’s about making sure your book does what you want it to do – whether that’s telling a powerful story or advising someone on how get-rich-quick. Copyediting makes sure your language works, is consistent and readable, and follows an appropriate style. If the idea of editing is stressing you out, we can help with that, too. Just send us an email to learn what we can do for you!
Your text is beginning to read like a book, so now is the time for your edited manuscript to be formatted so that it looks like a book, too. Typesetting is about choosing the correct fonts, checking that all parts of are present and correct, and making sure that the book looks great in all formats – that’s ebook as well as print. It can be a daunting process for authors who have correctly been focused, until this point, on making the words perfect. But professionals like ourselves can help – check out more information on book layout here.
While your book is being typeset – and often even before – you should be focused on your cover design. Once you’re sure you have a workable manuscript, and you’ve established that you are about to publish your book, working on your cover design means you can begin-pre-publicity for your book long before it’s finished, building momentum so that you’re ready to hit the ground running on publication day. For many authors, this is the point at which the book really comes to life, when you can finally envisage the book as a real object that people are going to buy.
A good cover designer will work closely with you, offering professional advice and guidance so your book makes the right first impression among your target audience. Like it or not, a cold audience will often make a judgement about your book on the cover alone, so you can remove that obstacle with a great cover which invites people into your book. You want as many eyes as possible on those words of yours, and that’s where we can help.
During typesetting is also a great time to write your blurb. The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook gives some brief but excellent advice on writing your blurb, as does Kindlepreneur on his website. Briefly though:
- Keep it snappy
- Try to convey the tone of the book rather than a full synopsis of what’s inside
- Try to put yourself in your readers’ shoes.
It’s a good idea to do your research here, by reading blurbs of books similar to your own to find out what they do well and what you’re not so keen on.
You might also have a brief author bio on the back cover, along with your picture and perhaps some social media and website details. But again, keep it short! Finally, organise your metadata – your book’s keywords, categories, price, etc.
This is a thorn in the side for so many writers, but it’s not as daunting as it seems. If you want to publish your book with KDP alone, then they can take care of that for you. But keep in mind that as you go wider with your approach, you will need one ISBN for each format. That means one for paperback, one for hardback, one for ebook (some people prefer one each for Kindle and other ebooks but this isn’t strictly necessary), one for large print, one for audiobook, and so on.
When purchasing ISBNs, you should do so from a supplier in your country of residence. For America, this is Bowker, for Britain and Ireland it’s Nielsen. A quirk with both of these suppliers is that the cost of ten ISBNs is less than the cost of two, so you’re definitely better off buying in bulk.
Though the ISBN and barcode process can sound complex, we’re just a message away to help as always.
This is the final pass over your text before publication; the final polish before sending your book off into the world. In proofreading you’ll check that styles have been applied to your text consistently. Ask yourself questions like:
- Does all the body text look the same?
- Do your headings all match?
- Is your table of contents accurate?
- Have any typos been missed (seeing your text correctly formatted almost invariably helps authors to locate those final bugs in the text)?
If you want professional help with your proofreading, just contact us. We’re ready to help, as always.
Preparing to upload
Now that you have your finished text, a beautiful cover, all of your metadata is ready…it’s time to let go and actually publish your book publish.
Amazon will get you up and running more quickly and and with usually with less expense. But IngramSpark have more options, and arguably better quality and distribution. Both have fairly simple, step-by-step processes but again, we’re always here to help if you have any worries. We can even take care of your publishing for you, should you choose to offload that side of things. Just drop us a note and ask.
Once you’ve hit go, the first thing you do is congratulate yourself once more. At the start of this post, we mentioned that many writers don’t get to finish their books; now you’ve gone a step further and shared your work with the rest of the world. That’s an achievement! Your dreams, hard work, and collaboration with professionals and beta readers have all paid off.
The book can take around seventy-two hours to be fully live across the world, but in reality it’s often much quicker than that. Your Kindle book, for example, will usually appear by the following day.
Don’t forget to tell the world
Though you won’t become a millionaire author overnight, there are steps you can take to maximise your chances of success when you publish your book.
Begin by generating reviews where you can, and then share those reviews relentlessly. This includes on your author website, where you can build your author identity with blog posts, special promotions and list building. Check out our web design page if you’re looking for a new site or wanting a professional redesign. Maybe you’ll do some publicity like a blog tour or social media schedule. Or perhaps paid advertising through places like Amazon or BookBub.
Down the line you can revisit your book cover to add one of these lovely reviews. If you continue to write, you can add a page to your book asking readers to review your book and point them to your others. That’s the joy of print-on-demand publishing. Because you’re in control, you can tweak these details to your heart’s content so that you can keep on reaping the rewards of your hard work.
All while you’re working on your next book, of course…