1. Clean up your manuscript
Go through and look for idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies. For example, I know I’m a huge fan of starting sentences with conjunctions (and, but, so, yet) and I have an over abundance of phrases in parenthesis. These are my personal writing idiosyncrasies. I don’t want to get rid of them all, but I make sure that each use either furthers the writing or is needed to keep the writing in my “voice”.
I also clean up any inconsistencies. For example, in the cookbook I’m currently editing I find that I’ve used the following:
That’s four different ways to say the same thing! I decided on one standard format and will be keeping it the same throughout the book. (And using the same format for cup, pound, and teaspoon!)
When I edit for clients, this is one of the main areas in which I focus. I don’t really care if you want to say fig. or figure but I want it to be the same throughout the book!
2. Write the “extra” pages
There’s more to your manuscript than the main bulk of the content. You also need your title page, acknowledgement and/or dedication page, copyright message, about the author blurb, and how to get more information instructions which can be a list of your other titles or even your contact information.
As I work with clients to take their book projects from manuscript to published, I find that we tend to forget the all-important “extra” pages that a book will probably have. So after a manuscript is turned over to me, I usually turn around and give the client homework.
3. Think about your cover
I give my clients a cover-creation worksheet that helps me get inside their head and really find out what they are looking for in the look of their book’s cover. But when a client has thought about it before hand it can really make all the difference!
For example: What color scheme do you like? What feeling are you trying to convey on your book cover? Do you want a picture or just text?
4. Define your publishing goals
I always think of goals as a moving target. You may begin your publishing journey looking to have a physical book to sell from stage at a speaking event and through the course of the process discover that holding a book in your hands with your name on the cover keeps you up at night.
When I have my initial call with clients, I always ask what their publishing goals are. I get one of three responses:
B. Extra cash flow
C. Fulfilling the dream of becoming an author
Through the publishing process, I find that those initial goals will deepen and expand. You’ll find that your book and the process of getting it published will open up new avenues you never knew existed!
5. Understand that it is a process
It doesn’t matter if I’m publishing one of my own manuscripts or if I’m working with a client; publishing is a process!
Like my cookbook, for example: I thought it would be a slam-dunk to take my three existing camping cookbooks and put them into one print edition. A simple, week-long project. However, as I’m editing all 101 recipes in the same book for the first time, I’m finding a few typos, unclear instructions, and that I wasn’t even close to being consistent in how I convey measurements.
And this is the third time I’ve edited each individual recipe!
But I understand that taking a project from manuscript to published is a process. It goes through revisions, tweaks, and changes. Thankfully, by now, I have my system down pat so it minimizes headaches and pulling on my hair.
(Yep, I literally tug on my hair when I’m thinking. And with short hair I can get it to stand straight up.)
Remember that you don’t have to face the challenges of independently self-publishing alone! I have many different resources for you to utilize including my free report, a home study course, and assisted self-publishing!