5 tips for preparing your book for self-publishing

One of the most daunting steps in the journey to self-publishing comes right at the end… Preparing the physical manuscript. We’ve gathered together some of the best tips and tricks of the industry to give you an idea of what exactly you need to do to prepare your book for self-publishing. The truth is that deciding to self-publish does not let you off the hook in terms of conforming to a certain way in which a book is prepared before going to print and then to market. Here are 5 great tips to ensure you’re on top of your game:

  1. First off, make sure your novel is ready. One of the things we make sure to do on our online novel writing course, Now Novel (www.nownovel.com) is to lay the foundations for a great novel. That means make sure you have a meaningful theme, all the plot and setting details you need, in-depth character studies and the right structure before you send your book off. You want it to be as complete as possible.
  2. Have your work proofread by a reputable editor – this could be your first and last mistake if you choose not to do it! Self-publishing does give one a sense of control and creative freedom, but grammar and spelling mistakes (as well as the odd typo!) can happen to anyone. So your second job is to bag a good editor who will both edit and proof read cover to cover.
  3. Then, pay attention to the look and feel (except for the cover – more on that later) from your first page until your last. It’s not a random bunch of words – it has to have a sense of flow, structure and design. So for example your first criteria would be to decide on the trim size of your book. There are certain industry sizes that you will need to investigate, along with font choice and size, and how to separate chapters or break up sections.
  4. And then it gets detailed! Margins, line spacing, headers, footers and page numbers, pagination, chapter headers and sections and artwork will all need to be decided upon.  This is your baby, so you may even want to make use of an extra page at the end of the book to either publicize your other books or direct readers to your blog, website or Facebook page.
  5. If there is any part of your book that should be handed over to a professional (other than the editor) it’s your cover. Readers really do judge books by their covers, and this is the first engaging aspect that will allow you to draw readers into your world. Self-publishers can make the mistake of thinking they will DIY the cover, but readers have high standards; this could be a risk, as a low quality cover could blow your positioning.

Follow these 5 steps and you’ll be well on the way to creating your self-publishing masterpiece!

Bridget McNulty is a published author and co-founder of Now Novel, an online novel writing course (www.nownovel.com)

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