You wrote a book!
- Finish manuscript.
- Send manuscript to beta readers.
- Send beta-read manuscript to editor.
- Accept/approve/reject editor’s edits.
- Have a cover design concept completed.
- Get the ebook and print interior formated.
- Upload book files.
These are people who read for the author in order to catch any major issues before the book goes to the editor. Make sure your betas are experienced. In other words, don’t choose a neighbor, friend, or family member to beta your book. You need people who will be brutally honest.
- Find continuity errors.
- Point out plot holes.
- Give constructive criticism to make the storyline more appealing.
Not all beta readers are created equal, choose wisely. Ask the authors you follow, or have a friendly relationship with, for referrals.
Copy Editing, Content Editing, Line Editing …
Copy Editing is checking a manuscript for spelling, capitalization, punctuation, verb tenses, and other grammatical errors. Also includes:
- Checking for continuity;
- sentence structure;
- paragraph lengths;
- word choices / missed words, etc.
In other words, copy editing involves correcting the language of the text.
Content Editing, also known as developmental or substantive editing, involves checking the content. This includes:
- Content for factual errors, contradictions, and inconsistencies;
- If fiction, this is a check for discrepancies in the plot, character, or dialogue;
- Verify the theme has been developed (i.e. developmental editing) properly;
- Making sure sub-plots have been well integrated into the story line.
In other words, content editing evaluates the content in detail.
Line Editing is the technical side of the craft of writing, and that means paragraph structure, sentence flow, word choice, and language-related techniques. That also means voice, style, readability, and forward movement. In fiction, it pertains to the difference between scenes and exposition.
In the publishing industry, a manuscript first goes to a content editor, who evaluates the content, and if needed, suggests changes to the writer. The writer, with the help of the content editor, then re-writes the parts to be changed. Once the content editor and author are both satisfied (and feel positive the text will resonate with the reader) the manuscript goes to the copy editor. The copy editor and content editor can sometimes be the same person, just handling a different aspect of the editing process. Regardless of having one or two editors involved, copy editing is the final stage before the manuscript goes to print.
The cover of your book should give an idea of your book’s genre and story. It might not be right, but your book is judged by its cover. Does that mean a bad cover means the content on the pages is poor? No, but if you have a poorly designed cover, the general public is going to be less likely to purchase your book without a lot of capital invested in marketing. Without purchases, you aren’t going to get real reader reviews, real reader recommendations, and those are hard enough to come by as it is.
The cover gives clues as to the tone of the story within, and in many cases, that cover also influences the publication design of the e-book and the print book.
Book Design / Layout / Formatting
All these describe the same thing. This involves taking the manuscript and laying it out on the page or the screen for the most aesthetically pleasing reading experience for the readers.
Using the same or similar fonts and graphic elements used on the cover throughout the book and e-book will give the completed manuscript a professional look. Book designers will know the industry standards for layout and design so the book will not get poor reviews based on the reading experience.
Marketing is a huge part of publishing. With hundreds of thousands of books published each year, new releases can get lost in the crowd.
- Book Teasers (use quality images to excite, engage, intrigue. Include book title, release date, and author name at minimum.)
- Giveaways (the expense will pay for itself in engagement and social media shares.)
- Blog Takeovers/ Facebook Party Takeover (cross-promotion will help authors get their books/name in front of new readers.)
- Build your newsletter list (offering incentives for joining: free content, giveaways, and drawings can bulk up the list quickly)
- Plan to market your book for a period of time (build interest before publishing and then continue for a few months afterward.)
Branding can pertain to series as well as authors. Color schemes, font choices, graphic elements all can tie teasers, posts, newsletters, etc. together. Use similar avatars, banners, etc. across various social media outlets (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google, Blog, Website, Twitter, etc.)
Parts of Books & E-Books
The first page or screen after the cover is the title page. It can be a graphic representation of the cover or as simple as plain text. It should list the title of the book and the author name at minimum. It can also include the series name, publisher name, and publication date.
The copyright page should list the copyright date as well as the copyright statement. It should also have the publisher and publisher address/contact information. Listing the ISBN number for each format (paperback, hard back print, e-book formats, audiobook, large-print edition) is acceptable. Library of Congress Catalog number would appear on this page if received.
This would be a good place to include the team members — editors, proofers, cover models, design professionals, — various persons who contributed to the content or design of the book / e-book.
Table of Contents
The Table of Contents is necessary in the e-book to pass specifications of many online retailers. It should be in the front of the book, not in the back as many formatters used to do it. In the e-book it should be ‘linked’ so that it ‘clicking’ the link will take the reader directly to that chapter or section.
In print fiction books it is not necessary, but many authors choose to have it so that a reader can tell at a glance how many chapters are in the book and what the back matter included is. It is necessary in non-fiction titles.
Forward, Preface, Introduction, Prologue, Endorsements
Forward, Preface, Introduction, Prologue, Endorsements — these should still be in the front of the body. It is not necessary to have all these ‘sections’, it is permissible to have one or more. The page numbering is done in Roman numerals or some other system that differs from the Body pagination unless otherwise noted.
A special kind of introduction that offers supportive information relevant to the book, the Foreword is written by someone other than the book’s author.
Written by the book’s author, the Preface contains important information relating to the book topic, but outside of the book’s contents.
Other Books —
A simplified list of the other books in the author’s cataloge. In e-books these can be linked to the author or publisher’s website.
The author gives the reader more details about the book in this optional section. In trade nonfiction books, the Introduction may be an informal “Dear Reader” letter getting the reader excited about the information presented, inviting the reader inside the book and giving an overview of the book’s contents. (Regular pagination number starts here.)
A separate introductory part of the literary work – an event that proceeds the coming storyline. (Regular pagination)
Can be literary reviews or blurbs by industry leaders; usually longer than one sentence with attribution to commenter.
A short quotation or saying at the beginning of a book or chapter, intended to suggest its theme.
This refers to the text of the book, which is usually broken down into chronologically numbered and named elements called Chapters.
In nonfiction books each chapter may be divided into sub-titled segments which may be included in the TOC.
In fiction, the chapters might contain segments called Scenes; these are separated by blank space, or scene change graphics or text (***) within the text. They are usually not referenced in the TOC.
In both fiction and nonfiction, chapters might be grouped together and labeled as Part, Section, etc.
Epilogue, Afterword, Conclusion, Synopsis, Postscript, Bibliography, Glossary
Epilogue, Afterword, Conclusion, Synopsis, Postscript, Bibliography, Glossary — again self-explanatory; if applicable.
Any additional information for the reader to know after having read the book goes here.
Nonfiction books may have one or more Appendix listing recommended books, websites, organizations, or other resources relating to the book topic.
Usually found in nonfiction books, this section lists vocabulary words and their definitions as they relate to the book’s subject matter. Some fiction books such as paranormal or fantasy, a glossary might add to the reading experience or be necessary for the readers to follow.
Lists the references used in writing the book.
Usually in nonfiction books, the Index is an alphabetical list of significant terms found in the text and the pages they appear on, helpful to someone seeking specific information in the book.
The author page can have the author headshot as well as a biography of approximately 300 words, usually written in 3rd person.
A list of contact methods (social media, websites, etc.,) can be linked here in ebooks. For print books use the shortest hyperlink possible or a QR code that links directly to the site.
Footnotes linked to text in body of the e-book. ( If there is a footnotes section of the book, why would you make a reader skip/scan/slide between the noted text and the actual note listed in the “back”? With the technology available, it makes no sense not to link the noted footnote number with the explanation or collaboration, unless you are looking to irritate your readers.)
External links to other bibliography material found on various websites other than the author’s. (Not only should this be listed in the notes, but having the option to go to the actual article or webpage that supplied information is a way to build credibility with readers)
External links to videos — YouTube and other video hosting sites.
External links to author’s website for:
- chart of characters, timelines, genealogy charts, etc
- detailed information not feasible to include in book format
- exclusive video message from author to readers
- supplemental information in various formats (video, audio, pdf, etc)
External links to other information sites that readers might find informative or helpful (the easier you make if for your readers to do more research or better understand the subject matter of your book the more likely you are to get a favorable review).
Social media is important to authors, it is a way to connect with readers and future readers. Somehow, over the course of the past few years, the publishing world forgot that the main component of social media is SOCIAL.
Be engaged, don’t use social media to spout ‘buy my book’. Connect with your followers, interact with them. You are a brand; an author, but you are also a person, use social media to show your personal side.
Rules for professionally using Social Media:
- Steer clear of posting political posts, religious posts, unless that is your market. Those two subjects are polarizing, you could instigate a back-lash against you and your books by offending the wrong segment of people.
- Don’t drink and post. Many a career has gone down in flames by a drunken tweet/posts/status. We all have amazing ideas when a bit of alcohol is involved, but it is too easy for something to be said or written and taken out of context. What you think is insightful or brilliant when you have had a few drinks usually can’t be conveyed with alcohol is clouding your judgment.
- Use social media to be engaged. It is not for continually shouting ‘buy my book’. Have a sale, great, post it once a day, not once an hour.
- If you make a mistake on social media, own up to it, apologize sincerely, don’t simply delete the tweet/post/status. Screenshots are forever.
Your website is one of your most important tools in publishing. It lets the world know who you are as an author. If disseminates information, it brands you, it showcases your books, in short, it promotes you 24 hours a day with little effort on your part.
Adding a blog to your website is good too. Share your thoughts, share snippets of your work in process, share recipes for your favorite food or drink, it doesn’t matter what you share as long as it is on point with you as a writer. There are thousands of book blogs out there, sharing author’s releases, excerpt etc as part of blog tours. These are great, but your blog is NOT a book blog. Yes, you can share some of your favorite author’s info but it is YOUR blog, not a book blog; don’t share just anyone’s content to your readers. Save that for book bloggers.
Facebook is the crown-jewel of social media platforms. If you utilize only one social media site, Facebook should be that site. The advertising and interaction is the main benefit – millions of members all a keystroke away. Long posts, not limited to a woefully small character count, images, banners, groups, events – all that are underutilized by authors every day.
But know the etiquette.
- Don’t ‘dirty add’ people to groups. What’s ‘dirty add’? That is adding people to groups who did not ask to be in a group. It is a fast way to irritate hundreds of people at a time. It could get you shamed, banned, or block – sometimes all three and then some.
- Don’t post your links on someone else’s timeline unless specifically asked as a ‘sharing is caring’ post or a call for links.
- Do say hello to new connections but again, don’t post a welcome message on their wall with links to your books or Facebook page.
Twitter used to be the most used social media site for authors, then it was inundated with authors and bloggers doing no more than screaming ‘buy my book’ on the site. With the implementation of scheduled tweeting, people no longer had to be present to be ‘active’, simply upload 200 tweets and schedule them for a specific time frame and you as a human with a heartbeat never had to go and see anyone’s tweets.
If you are going to use Twitter, don’t over schedule tweets, a few a day is okay, but no longer will you get a return on investment if you are doing one an hour with no human contact.
Instagram is great for sharing visual content – graphic teasers, photos of your day, short videos – but it makes linking to off-site sources or pages virtually impossible. Links are not clickable so if you are going to share a link in the description of your visual content, make sure it is short and easily typed by someone.
There is always a new social media platform that is touted as the ‘next best thing’. Good luck figuring out which it actually is.
Google+ had capabilities of greatness, it did not censor posts, Google is the ‘go to’ search engine, most people have gmail, the community features are great BUT it is just as cluttered with spammers and scammers as any other site.