Publishing a book is not a race against the clock
While self-publishing, especially ebooks, offers writers an incredible opportunity to get their books under reader’s noses, one of the most common mistakes made by those new (and sometimes not so new) to self-publishing, is to get caught up in the euphoria of publishing a book, and then to rush to publish as quickly as possible.
It can be a tragic and perhaps fatal mistake, which could damage your reputation as a writer for a very long time.
Publishing a book with a weak story, gaps or holes in the plot, errors and typos and/or poor formatting will not only kill sales potential but immediately damage your reputation as a writer, so don’t rush to publish until you have done the necessary work.
Publishing an ebook on Kindle or Draft2Digital Smashwords, or a Print On Demand paperback with Createspace or Lulu takes literally minutes to complete and anyone with an ounce of computer know-how can do it.
But don’t fall into the trap.
If you haven’t had your manuscript read by someone else, do not rush to publish.
As a writer, it’s impossible to be objective about what you have written.
Get at least one opinion, but preferably a lot more to find out if the story works and if there are any holes in the plot.
This should be done before detailed editing and correcting.
It’s simply about the story, so don’t worry about grammar, spelling and typos too much at this stage.
When you get some feedback, don’t publish.
Act on the feedback and improve the story. Once you’ve done this, don’t publish.
Now you have a story that works, walk away from it. Leave it for a month, or even two. Why?
Because you need to approach the next stage with a fresh mind.
Do not rush to publish.
After a good break from your manuscript, start your editing process.
Tidying up repetitions, overused words and phrases and check that the dialogue works and is properly punctuated and reported.
‘Perhaps get rid of all those adverbs you added when you were wrapped up in the story when you wrote it,’ he said wryly.
Make sure your characters keep their ‘voice’.
Take your time, and then, do not publish.
Now it’s time to find, pay or barter and get yourself a proofreader.
Be patient and wait for that to be done and make the corrections.
Double check your text again yourself, and perhaps use an online grammar and spell checker to hunt for missed errors.
Then, do not rush to publish.
Then, do not rush to publish.
Prepare your manuscript for publication and test it with a programme such as Calibre and load it up onto your Kindle or iPad and read your book as your readers will.
For POD, prepare the pdf version and check it carefully for pagination and font styles.
No, do not publish.
Find some beta readers to read your finished book on their Kindle or iPad or whatever e-reader they have.
Wait for their feedback, and act on it and make any necessary changes you think will make your book better. Do not publish.
Do not publish.
Prepare your manuscript again with Calibre, then read your book again, just one last time and be proud of how fantastic it is.
And know that you have given your book the care and attention it deserves and will enhance your reputation as a writer and self-publisher.
Read our new article on how to make your new book a success.