Do you, like many other would-be authors today, want to write a book?
Many steps are involved in publishing a book, and you should familiarize yourself with the process, especially if you plan to self-publish. Print-on-demand (POD) has become a viable (and sensible) option for many, as bookstores close and online retailers flourish. With POD, books are printed and shipped after they are ordered, eliminating the need for storing boxes of unsold books and for destroying returned books that bookstores ordered but did not sell.
Self-publishing need not mean that you are completely on your own in unfamiliar territory. A number of companies offer packages to help you with ISBNs, e-book conversion, distribution, and design. Amazon’s CreateSpace has been an important player in the POD marketplace, however, as reported recently by Charleston’s Post and Courier, CreateSpace “is laying off workers in its editing, marketing and design division in July because the company is getting out of the business of offering services to writers.” (CreateSpace will continue to print books.)
The packaged deal is a good choice for many, but it may not be the best option for writers who want to maintain greater control over the process and handpick the individuals they will be working with on important matters such as editing and book design. Most designers have websites and post samples of their work. The name of the person or company that designed the cover and/or interior is often printed on a book’s copyright page or back cover. If you find a look you like, you may wish to contact the designer to discuss your project. If your budget is tight, you might find a freelancer on a site such as fiverr.com.
Whether you are planning to submit a manuscript to an agent or publisher or publish a book yourself, having your work reviewed by a competent editor is an important step in the publication process. Finding an editor who is familiar with your subject matter is a big plus, but if you are writing for a general audience, you want to ensure that your work is clear and comprehensible, and specialized knowledge may not be important.
You are very familiar with your ideas, and your words make sense to you. You may not realize that you are using terms in a way that others will find confusing, or that you are making erroneous assumptions about what a reader is likely to know or infer. You may believe that you need to explain every detail when, in fact, you need to trust that your reader will understand that something important just happened without being told. Your characters don’t need to shout to be heard. The overuse of exclamation points and bolded capital letters is distracting and irritating. While choices about what to cut and what to keep are always somewhat subjective, a new writer can benefit from the experience of a wise guide.
I’ll have more to say about the writer-editor relationship in the future, but I wanted to share the news about the upcoming changes in the services offered by CreateSpace.