In June, my editor completed his work on the third novel. Now it is up to me to go over the corrections, make the recommended changes and begin formatting the book for publication. So the book isn’t ready to publish just yet. Below, I will list the remaining steps to get book III published. I am very excited about getting this book to market, as it is one step closer to completing my “octology” series “Ouranic Histories: Echo and the Malachim.” Whether you are following me because you are interested in getting the next book in your hand or because of the practical steps to become an author, this post is for you. Enjoy!
1. Go Over the Editor’s Comments and Recommendations
There is a reason we pay significant money to editors. They know how words are supposed to work together in a technical way. As often as we would like to think we have enough grammatical skills to edit our own works, it’s simply not true. Copy editors can enhance our words for optimal effectiveness. Sometimes what we see in our minds and what we communicate on the page are incoherent. This is because every time we read our written work, our minds fill in the blanks. It takes a fresh set of eyes for that. Editors are great for that because they don’t know what’s coming, so their questions are more reflective of your potential audience.
They can also see when we mis-word things. Sometimes we use an original witticism and neglect to explain it’s source and meaning to our audience. They can catch that. Sometimes we start out with a group of people; as the story progresses, two pair off in a romantic endeavor. Later on, we decided we wanted the male to be a different character. In our effort to retrofit the romance, we often neglect to catch all the name changes. Editors can catch that. Sometimes, our sentences are technically correct, but read very awkwardly. Editors can catch that. Sometimes we don’t explain well what is happening. Editors catch that and can help us see the need to explain it more.
2. Make the Recommended Changes and Corrections
Once we get our manuscript back from the editor, we have the task of accepting or rejecting the editor’s recommendations. Some recommended changes are stylistic. Others are fallacious grammar issues. We’d best be aware of which is which.
In Book III: Hellas and the Theohedron, my editor made a really good suggestion. He wanted to know more about what the characters were thinking (psychological depth). I had already started doing that in Book IV as a new style adaptation. So now, I will go back and bring that into book III. I’ll add mental thoughts for the characters as the story progresses. It is a great recommendation that I completely agree with. You will see internal dialogue in Book III thanks to my editor.
The recommendations and changes from editors is made far easier if they are technologically savvy in their craft. I’ve had editors that printed off the manuscripts, wrote out all the corrections by hand, then gave me the printed pages (making the correction process immensely tedious.
I have other editors who only wanted a digital version. They used the comment and editing sections in MS Word. Which is a phenomenal program for this endeavor. He makes his corrections, they show up in the comments section of the manuscript. Each comment has an x and a check mark. Click the x to reject the suggestion/correction. Click the check mark to accept it. A huge percentage of the cleaning up process is simply clicking x or check mark all the way through the manuscript. Afterwards, the focus will be on adding the newly suggested content.
3. Add Suggested Points of Clarification
When the editor makes a comment that something doesn’t make sense of flow right, we need to take his words with deep consideration. If an editor says we need to explain, add more detail, or simply clarify something, we need to do it. If we have too much of an emotional connection to our work that we can’t stand to make changes the editor is suggesting (unless it completely changes the story), then we will never write a quality stellar book. In that instance, we may as well write for ourselves and not worry about publishing. The editor is there to help you enhance your work and make it accessible to a wider audience.
The editor’s added points of clarification are there to make our best work shine. We are using their professional skills to make our book the best it can be.
4. Adding Appendices
After I clean up all the editor’s suggestions, I’m not done yet. The next step for me is to add the appendices. My novels fall into the Fantasy genre. Things typical of Fantasy novels: Obscure names of people and places, various geographical locations, multiple encounters between characters in different geographical places. Sometimes there are images and symbols that move along the plot lines. It is helpful to readers if there is a gloss, or brief explanation of these. So I create a Glossary of terms and usually include some sort of map for the readers as a reference point.
5. Formatting, Oh, and More Formatting
Grrrr! Next to fixing the minute details that the editor suggests, Formatting is easily the most annoying part of the self-publishing process. at Createspace, standard publication size is 6″x9″. When you start a document on Microsoft Word, the default setting is 8.5″x11″. Once all is said and done, you have to shring your book 2.5″x2″. If you were meticulous about having your chapters start on the top of a page in the default setting, be prepared to go through your book chapter by chapter and do it all over again.
Don’t do the “Chapter at the top of the Page” thing just yet. First you’ll need to see the printing press’ margin guidelines. You’ll want the margins to fit within their bleed through parameters. These are the areas close to the very edges of each page. If the margins aren’t set right, letters and even whole words will be cut off. There’s nothing more annoying than seeing the bottom half of the page number print.
So we tweak and tweak and tweak the formatting until we get it just right. Do we have the title page included? Do we have the copyright page there? What about those chapters starting on the top of a page? Did we get those figured out?. And what about the glossary? Does it start at the top of a page? What about the maps? Does the entire map fit on a page? Or does it spill over? Gotta make sure we reformat that.
6. Calculate the Exact Size for Cover Design
Technically this is still a formatting category (once the design is complete and all). Remember that issue with the bleed through margins? Same thing here. We need to make sure the Title, subtitle, author, etc. on the front page fits inside the bleed through spots. On the spine, it’s the same (with the added calculations of how thick the spine should be based on page number–which is different now that you’ve reformatted it to 6″x9″. Then the same goes for the back cover. You’ll want the book description, author bio, author picture, and barcode all within in the bleed through paramerters and far enough away from the spine to be visible.
7. Get Cover Designed
In this part, I’ve had the fortune of meeting people who agreed to do pro-bono work on the cover designs. This is the first one where I started the process on my own. Unless you are a great artist, you’ll probably want to get a subscription to rf123.com or stockphotos. But you don’t want to simply plug a stock photo on the cover. This is where I find Adobe Photoshop comes in handy. With it you can alter and enhance graphics. You can layer several images together and bring a visual creative edge to your work. You can add fog, smoke, glowing colors, etc. However, you’ll want some tutorials, because in terms of formatting, your cover is going to be one document that includes the front, spine, and back. You’ll need to go back to your size calculations.
8. Upload, Upload, Upload
Once your formatting is set to your specifics, it is time to upload your manuscript file and your book cover file. On multiple occasions, I’ve had issues with step 8 through 10. For the cover, Createspace requires it to be in JPG formatting. However, the site allows you to upload a couple different file formats for the manuscript. You can upload your manuscript in DOC, DOCX, PDF, and more.
I have always had trouble with keeping the formatting for the manuscript coherent when I uploaded it in DOC/DOCX formats. I would have it laid out exactly the way I wanted it in Word. It would look pristine. Then I would upload it. Whenever it came time to examine a proof copy, the formatting always got messed up in the rendering process. Chapters wouldn’t start on the top of pages, Glossaries would begin at the end of a chapter. Then I would go back and format it with the spaces I thought it would need to account for the rendering alterations. I would bounce back and forth several times trying to get it just right.
Good News: In the heat of my frustration, I remembered Createspace took different document types. One being PDF. PDF is one of the most popular forms of files to share between people because of its unalterable nature. Once you save a document as a PDF, the formatting is locked into place. So now, my solution is to get the formatting “exactly” how I want it in Word, save it as a PDF, then upload it to Createspace. This prevents the rendering process from altering the formatting. I get the layout exactly how I set it. This has helped greatly in the formatting process.
9. Examine the Proof Copies
Once we have our cover and manuscript uploaded, it is up to us to examine a proof copy. These are copies that are not for sale. They are for initial examination to work out any final adjustments before it can be purchased. With Createspace, you have two options. 1. You can buy a proof copy (it’s the same price as the author would pay for a regular copy of the book-the production cost + shipping). Some people like to work through their work physically, like one of my aforementioned editors. 2. You can use Createspace’s digital book emulator and look at a digital version of your physical copy. In this option you’ll need to make personal notes of any changes you want to make. This is a free service from Createspace, so there is no printing cost or shipping cost.
10. Go Live
Once you have examined your book’s formatting and the proof is to your liking, you go onto your member dashboard in Createspace and approve your book for publication. It may take 24hrs or so, but once it is a go, your book will go live for purchase on Createspace’s store and on Amazon.com. If you have an author page on Amazon, you’ll want to make sure you link to the book and claim authorship. That way when people search your name on Amazon, your books show up in the search. After that, it is a matter of marketing, which is a completely different topic and skill set.
Did you find this post helpful? Did you learn something new about the self-publishing process? Do you have an insight into where I am in the process now of publishing Book III: Hellas and the Theohedron?
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