So all of your hard work is done, and it’s now ready to be published. But before you source your printer, or send it to them, there are a few things you need to check first. If you’ve used a reputable production company, or publisher, then these five important steps should have been taken care of.
The Five Critical Steps to Publishing Success
Step 1. Editing;
This is a critical step in publication, but it’s usually the last thing to be considered. Most new authors think they are good enough – or feel a ‘friend who is good at writing’ will do the trick. It won’t. Even the most talented writers use an editor. You may understand what you want to say, but it may not be written that way. An editor is highly trained in making words sing off the page – and you can tell a book that hasn’t been professionally edited – you shouldn’t miss this step, no matter your budget. Yes, it can add an added expense to your project, but you really need to include this into your publishing costs.
Step 2. Proof Reading;
The editing process is usually done in two stages – one is the copy edit, (explained above) the second is proof reading – where ideally, it’s looked at by another set of eyes, and punctuation and spelling is under scrutiny. This is usually done at a different time to editing, as doing both together is virtually impossible. What the brain ‘wants to see’ compared to what is actually there can be surprising. It’s not uncommon for a book to go through this process three times before everything is fixed. I always insist that my authors check their work AFTER the editing and proof reading stage, as an extra precaution, as little mistakes can slip through the net. Also, be prepared for this extra time. Allow a good three weeks for this stage.
Step 3. Layout;
Along with editing, layout is also super important to get right. There is no point in going to all the trouble of getting your book edited and proof read, to then have your book designed in Word and make fundamental mistakes that are common with using software that is not suitable for the job. Margins, font choice, spacing, header/footer placement and pagination are all crucial when designing a book. I’ve seen some heinous mistakes in my time, and it results in the book being difficult to read, as well as damaging the posture of the author.
A word of warning: If you’re in the design business, (or know someone who is) like web design for instance, then please don’t think that book design is something you or they can just ‘figure out’. It takes many years of training and working with different projects to get right. I’ve seen people use web designers to try and layout their book, only to notice fundamental mistakes with margins and font choice, and it’s cost them hundreds of pounds to fix. Print layout and screen layout are two different beasts and our brains process the information differently when reading off the page compared to looking at a computer screen. I can’t stress enough the differences between computer design and page/book layout.
I leave my web design to my web designer. Leave book design to professional typesetters!
Step 4: Jacket design;
When the book is being edited, you can use this time to get the book jacket sorted. Designing a book jacket may look simple enough, but there are specific elements that must be included, such as the correct spine width, enough bleed for the printers, ISBN bar code placement and compelling title and strap line. Font selection is important as well, as you want the cover and the insides of the book to be cohesive, and it’s why I like to include the design of the cover as part of my service so that the fonts used on the front, can also be included in the innards. If you are going to use a different company to design your cover, then make sure they speak to whoever is doing the layout – cohesion is key – and if your cover doesn’t depict what’s inside, then your readers are going to be disappointed and your book will seem disjointed.
Step 5: Printing;
Beware of print on demand services. They may seem like the best price… but they are cheap for a reason. Their quality is usually substandard, (in my experience) and I only use trusted print providers who give me quality paper choices and cover options. I’ve seen too many business owners make the wrong choice when it came to printing, and it spoilt the whole project. Why spend money on editing and layout, only to choose the cheapest option for print? Be very careful who you choose to print your book. Get samples and proofs BEFORE you commit; most companies will send you samples of paper stock and cover card.
If you’re overlooking your publishing project yourself, I highly recommend getting a seasoned professional to check everything over. Has your book include all of the above? If you’re not sure get in touch, we can fix, tweak or start from scratch. Or, if you’re thinking of writing a book, but don’t know where to start, send me an email. Writing a book can seem daunting – but it’s one of the most effective ways to boost your ‘expertise ranking’ within your niche.