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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday: Preparing the Finished Book Part 1

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! Self-publishing offers writers another choice on the road to publication, whether they’re already traditionally published and/or e-press published, or unpublished. Although the author maintains control of the process, she also has a lot of hard work ahead of her. Education about self-publishing and the publishing industry is vital to a good product and creating a professional image.

No matter which publishing path an author chooses, Preparing the Finished Book for publication is the first step. So, butt in chair and write. Once the book has been written, it needs to go through multiple rounds of self-editing, editing, critiquing, and/or beta-reading. This process shouldn’t be rushed.

Self-editing is often easier if the story isn’t fresh in the author’s mind. By setting aside the manuscript for several days to several months, typos and missed words are more noticeable. Pacing issues are more obvious and timeline problems come to the forefront. Repetitive sentence structure, repeat words, and awkward wording stand out. Keep a style guide, like Chicago Manual of Style, handy if grammar and punctuation are weak areas. Refer to craft-specific resources, such as Deb Dixon’s book about GMC, to review writing craft topics during self-editing. Writing Tip Wednesday: The Writing Craft Handbook offers suggestions on how to effectively self-edit and formulate a method that works best for the individual.

Once the story has been thoroughly edited, it’s ready for critique partners, beta-readers, and/or a professional editor. Get feedback from people with many different strengths—one who’s great at catching comma errors, another who notices logic lapses or poor characterization, someone else who sees POV issues. Using their strengths helps the author compensate for her weaknesses.

Good feedback is constructive and clear, with examples of how to correct problems, not only a this-is-wrong approach. It also provides positive comments on great dialogue, effective plot twists, etc. Trust is a very important element in this step. Critique partners, beta-readers, and editors should not rewrite parts of the story without permission. The author has the final say and doesn’t have to make all the recommended changes. It’s her book.

A few words on hiring freelance developmental, copy, and line editors...
Always check the person’s list of qualifications. Anyone can claim to be an editor. Ask for references or ask a fellow author for a referral if she has an amazing editor. Compare prices and turnaround times. Plan ahead. Most good editors are busy! Be sure a signed contract is part of the editor’s standard operating procedure before work is begun.

While the story is off with the editing team and the plot is still clear, the author can create blurbs and a tagline for use in promotion and retail book information. Taglines are short, usually less than 10 words. Think of it as a way to catch the attention of the reader and brand the book. Blurbs are longer, from 25 to 150 words, and tell just enough about the plot and characters to hook the reader. They take tweaking to make them precise and attention grabbing. Writing Tip Wednesday: The Writing Craft Handbook has tips for creating effective blurbs and taglines. Get feedback on those as well.

Check off the first 3 items on the to-do list! Only 12 more to go!!!

The To-Do List
1) Finish the book. 
2) Polish and edit the book. 
3) Write taglines and blurbs. 
4) Create or purchase cover art.
5) Purchase ISBNs, if using a single ISBN for all retailers using the same book format (print or e-book).
6) Create front and back matter.
7) Format for e-book and/or print.
8) Update website, blog, and social media.
9) Create metadata list.
10) Plan a marketing and promotion strategy.
11) Publish the book.
12) File copyright paperwork, if registering.
13) Add buy links to websites, blogs, and social media.
14) Implement marketing and promotion strategies.
15) Write the next book!

Be sure to check out the writing craft series, Writing Tip Wednesday: The Writing Craft Handbook, in e-book at Amazon and B&N and in print at Amazon and CreateSpace, and the writing career series, Writing Tip Wednesday: The Writing Career Handbook, in e-book at Amazon and B&N and in print at Amazon and CreateSpace.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

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