Your book writing project is completed, in draft form; it has been edited, read through, picked apart and put back together again and you believe further work will just be tinkering for tinkering’s sake. Now what? Are you ready to publish a book yourself?
If you have already secured a publishing contract with a traditional publisher (one who places the risk of publishing on their own shoulders, not yours) it will now be taken out of your hands (although publishers frequently ask for changes or additions to fit the work to its potential market). Authors less fortunate in the agent/publisher lottery face the choice of abandoning, or at least shelving the project, or publishing it themselves; a worthy and economic proposition nowadays, if you have your wits about you.
To understand how your book gets from being a file on your computer to a hardback, paperback or ebook for sale on Amazon or in your local bookshop, let’s examine the options.
You could, of course, seek a conventional printer, send them your manuscript, as a computer file, and let them turn it into a book. Many printers offer to do this pre-print work, for a fee, based on the hours it will take them. But that’s like asking plumbers to build a house. It’s not what they’re best at, or rarely qualified to do, for that matter. On the other hand, using a specialist book production service can be an enjoyable and instructive experience.
Layout professionals take your word-processed file and then, using a dedicated text editing and publishing program, prepares files that will be acceptable to printers. Your draft receives another read-through, enabling their in-house editors to get the feel of your work and make decisions about how best to lay it out, which font to use, point size, line spacing, margins. Also at this stage anomalies or inconsistencies will be identified that need resolving (and it is surprising how often this occurs with books which are thought to be ‘finished’). Sample pages in different styles will be produced for you to consider, showing treatments of chapter heads, in-text illustrations and any other features particular to your work. This will enable you to gauge how many pages your book might run to, the likely cost of printing, and whether you wish to make any modifications to keep within your budget.
Once you are happy with the format and style suggested, technicians will apply it throughout the book. They will also be checking for consistency of punctuation, treatment of foreign words, spelling – and even grammar, if it looks really horrible. You will, of course, be consulted on all adjustments felt necessary. Title page, copyright page and all the normal ‘preliminary’ pages will be added (acknowledgments, dedications, tables of contents, etc.) and a galley proof of everything except the cover will be sent to you as a pdf, (a format that faithfully scales up or down the precise layout of your book) which you will be able to open and read on your computer as if it were the finished book. This is the last but one stage where you can request changes that won’t break the bank.
Meanwhile the graphics department will be designing a cover, using any pictorial and text elements you have provided. They will present you with alternative suggestions, in line with the brief you provided (and the more detailed this is, the better).
After final corrections to both text and cover have been made you will receive final pdfs. You should take your time to study these carefully; even here it is not too late to change something. Only when you are entirely happy will your book’s files be passed to a printer.
Your printer can at this stage, if asked, produce a bound, proof copy of the finished book for your approval before going ahead and printing the number of copies you order (the print run). Now, however, there are likely to be extra costs involved for each and every change specified, which is why diligence is essential before work is sent to the printer.
What makes the self-publishing process rewarding, working with a professional book production service, is that you remain in complete control of your book, while editors are there at all times to give advice and make recommendations to ensure the final book is a truly professional product, and one you can be proud of.
Writeaway Books provide help and advice on how to write a book. You will also have access to a dedicated team who can provide a comprehensive ebook publishing service. These editors have all been published themselves and have personal experience of the book publishing process.
An excellent guide for aspiring writers has recently been published on the Amazon Kindle Store titled How to Write a Novel. In ‘How to Write a Book or Novel – An Insider’s Guide to Getting Published’ you will find up to date information to help you get published, or self-publish, in either ebook or printed versions.
Jonathan Veale’s WriteAway website helps aspiring writers who help themselves. Now this latest 2012 guide for writers provides tips and advice that only an insider could know. You could be dipping into this expertise in seconds. Download your Kindle edition ebook today. It could save you a fortune, and help make you one!