Define the goals for your end product, Such as….
• Make sales
• Attract a traditional publisher
• Reach a niche audience, like hula hooping
• Share a personal subject with family and friends
• Combination of these
Your publishing strategy will differ depending upon these goals. At the end of 2012, research showed that most self-published authors were selling less than 100 copies of their books, and 70% of all book sales were made through Amazon.com. Since then, self-publishing statistics and strategies have continued to change.
Determine how much control you want to have.
• Traditional publishers control editing, marketing, printing, and fulfillment.
• Self-publishing requires managing every stage of the process.
• Author-support publishers, such as Arc Light Books, combine author control with management help.
Whether you get an advance from a traditional publisher or do everything yourself, you will have out-of-pocket costs.
• Competitive, self-published books require the most dollars up front. Self
publishing with author support can cost anywhere from $1,000 to over $7,000
depending upon the project goals and the author’s skills.
• Traditional publishing requires proposals to agents and publishers, with time and
money available for proposal development, writing, and professional editing.
• Even a family keepsake, like An Enduring Friendship, may require professional design and editing.
Writing and Feedback
If you are not a professional writer, read books on writing such as Story by Robert McKee, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, and Writers on Writing: Collected Essays from The New York Times introduced by John Darnton. The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. is one to keep on your shelf or computer. Develop a strategy for manuscript development, editing, and back cover blurbs.
Editing and Proofing
A good editor and proofer are worth every dollar of her or his fee. The editor’s job is to understand the writer’s goal, and to help that show up on every page. Every book benefits from a style sheet and three editors:
• The structural editor checks theme, voice, tense, flow, style, clarity, and
consistency of the manuscript, identifying strengths and weaknesses of language usage, sentence construction, paragraph sequence, and chapter division.
• Once the manuscript is finalized, the copy editor checks for consistency in word usage, grammar, spelling, tense, and use of numerical and hierarchical elements.
• Page layout follows the style guide created by the editors. Then a third set of editorial eyes is brought in to proof against the style guide before publication.
Copyright and Library of Congress
• Copyright your manuscript at www.copyright.gov/eco.
• The publisher or micro press assigns one or more International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN) to your book. www.myidentifiers.com
After first printing, send two copies of your book to the Library of Congress. www.copyright.gov/help/faq/mandatory_deposit.html
Design and Layout
The cover is the shining face of your project. It is your book’s prime real estate: front cover for marketing and social media, back cover for closing the sale.
• A publication’s title and subtitle together with author and contributor
information, a strong image or color scheme, and fonts are the building blocks for its cover design.
• A strong cover conveys the essential tone, theme, and qualifications of the
publication and its author.
• The book’s interior design includes consistent styles for title, headings, and text, and page elements such as running heads or footers, page numbers, call outs, illustrations, and lists.
Send advance copies of your book or manuscript out for review to the following:
• Well-known published authors with whom you have a connection
• Recognized names in relevant fields, and well-known authorities on your subject
• Blog sites that review books.