Category Archives for "Writing and Publishing Process"

Publishing a Book is Like Having a Baby

For all parents who have been through that final stage of pregnancy, then the birth of a child, you know that sometimes it’s a matter of things not always going to plan right at the end.

Then finally, jubilation at the arrival of that new life, and the pain and anguish of the delivery are soon forgotten – well somewhat forgotten! ūüėČ

It’s the same with books.¬† ¬†You can get right up to the wire, have everything ready to upload your book into Amazon, or send off to the printer, and then BAM!¬† ¬†A curve ball comes smashing through your plans and everything gets delayed.¬† For a few hours, days, or even a week or two.

This past week I’ve been busy with THREE books in various stages of release.¬† One was derailed¬† while uploading to Amazon Create Space because:

  • First the there were some unidentified errors that needed fixing.¬† And no, the editing and proofing stage is not always 100% – in face I’ve read books by some of the highest selling authors in the world that still have the odd error in them.
  • Then the page numbers for some reason kept ‘irritating the margins’ so they had to be fixed.
  • Then there were a few minor other wee things that needed attention, but were easily fixed, but still delayed the process.
  • The files were fixed but showing as still needing to be looked at, and we couldn’t figure out why.¬† But they seemed to come right once we just reloaded the (same) file.

And of course on CreateSpace, you have to allow for their own process of checking files before you can go further into the completion stages of uploading.

Another book – one of my own – was giving me grief at the final stage of uploading because:

  • First there was an issue with the inside cover page,
  • Then something wrong with the contents list, and finally the cover was not loading properly.¬† ¬†This was addressed by my asking the designer to check and resize, and he laughed and advised that it was definitely already the correct size. So back to the helpful people at Createspace, who advised that the cover was ready, which it wasn’t, and some flapping about with that debate, until suddenly it all came right.¬† ¬†We’re blaming technology and lack of caffiene on that one.¬†
  • Finally the ordering of the proof copy got stuck in the system.

Finally, one more book is so far seamlessly uploading, everything is going exactly according to plan – textbook perfect!

So you just never know exactly how the final delivery is going to end up.  

All you can do is trust the process, the helpful souls at Amazon – who by the way are brilliant when there is an issue – and that you will get there.

 

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The Role of Your Pre-Launch Team

One of the things I keep going on about, and am often asked to explain further is the concept of having a great pre-launch team, or Beta Readers.

Who are they?

Maybe friends, family, colleagues, or other writers.¬† Maybe perfect strangers.¬† But often the best people to have on your team are fans of your books.¬† People who will give you¬† straight up advise and feedback about what they do and don’t like about your manuscript – before you publish it.¬† You can recruit fans in all sorts of ways, but mostly I get mine through my social media accounts.¬† When I’ve finished a manuscript, I post about it, and ask for beta readers.

These people may offer editing tips, and tell you about the many mistakes you still have in your manuscript, but taht’s ok.¬† Forewarn them they will be there for finding.¬† This process is usually part of your pre-edit phase.

Invite them to tell you what they do and don’t like, what they would suggest you add, change, or think about.¬† ¬†Invite them to review your manuscript formally with a letter outlining your expectations for their getting an advance look at your latest work in progress.¬† (If you sign up for my newsletter, you can obtain a copy of the beta readers template I use, among other resources available FREE on this site – just head to the bottom of the screen.)

Their Responsibility

You must remind them that editing and proofing is not what you’re seeking – but that all errors will be gratefully noted.¬† And invite them to look out for the finished version which will be published and available etc.¬† ¬†But also ask if they like the book, to please post a review on Amazon please.

And most of all, remember to thank them for their time and response.¬† You might put this into the acknowledgements, or send them a personal note, and a printed, autographed copy when it’s published.

Most of all, the value of having a good team of beta readers is that the dozen or so key readers Рsome people invite more, but I find that hard to manage Рis that they are fresh eyes on your manuscript.  Even your editor and publishing coach can end up getting too close to your work to be able to step back and see some of the missing bits or overplayed parts easily.

Fnally, a warning.¬† You have to be thick skinned if you want real objective feedback.¬† You may not like the critiquing, but it’s worth having.¬† And then you will have additional writing to do.¬† ¬† But chances are you will also have a much better book as a result.

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It takes a whole village…

Who is on Your Team?

Writing a book is not a ‘one-man’ job, and if anyone tries to tell you differently, they are wrong. ¬†In fact, the ‘writing’ part is only a part of the process ¬†and even that is team effort. ¬†Now for anyone reading this so far and thinking, ‘Hold the Phone… I am the writer of my own words’ this is not a debate about all writers are authors and not all authors are writers*.

Let’s take the writing part of the process of writing a book.

When you are writing a good book, the primary writer is the person who sits at their keyboard and creates the story or commits the information to paper/computer and in that way he or she writes the manuscript.

A good writer will then use readers (often these are friends, family, or colleagues) to give feedback and help them to hone and refine the content.   See my other blog about Beta Readers Here

Then the writer is able to fine tune the manuscript to the point where they can hire the services of a professional manuscript reviewer who will help the writer apply the final polish to their manuscript.

An editor will also be engaged to ensure that the manuscript is very reader-friendly, suited to the audience the book is being written for, and is ready to publish.   In some cases, a very robust system of writing under the care and guidance of a book writing coach may diminish the need for some levels of editing.

When the manuscript is finally ready for publishing, a proofing editor will be required, reviewers who can endorse and recommend the book will be sought out, a cover designer, internal typesetting services, and printing services will be needed to get the book into the finished product.  If you are also preparing the book for online publication, you may need help to ensure the book is eBook ready and uploaded to the appropriate channels.

Finally, you need a good Public Relations plan and the help of professional marketing people to ensure your market knows about your book.

A book shepherd helps the writer work through the whole process from start to finish and engage the right people along the way to do their parts and take the guesswork out of the process.¬† A book shepherd helps the writer work through the whole process from start to finish and engage the right people along the way to do their parts and take the guesswork out of the process.¬† Many books make it to market without the help of a book coach or book shepherd, but I highly recommend using one of these as there is so much you won’t know as you start the journey of writing and publishing a book the first time.

It takes a whole village to raise a child and it takes a whole team to get a book written and published.[/pullquote]

Who do you already have on your team and who do you need on your team?

*Some authors are not the writers of their own books and hire ghost writers to put their words together for them, and many writers choose not to be authors.   

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