Monday, April 14, 2014

I Wrote a Book, Now What?

Finishing a manuscript is not really the end; it’s more of a beginning. There are many different tasks, such as editing, that cannot be done until the pages are filled with words. In reality, once an author gets the content done this is when the work begins. There are several things that have to happen before the book is completely finished and ready for publishing. What happens after you finish the first draft?

Rewriting and Rewriting!
To the author, once the book is finished the work is all lined out. It’s a long way from actually being finished and the actual finished product may look quite different than the first draft. The book in this first form is likely to never be seen by anyone other than the author. But until all the words are spread across the pages, there can be no editing and rearranging. Once it is all put together, you can start the editing process. Once the first draft is completed, you should lay it down and take a break for at least a day or two. This gives you a chance to come back to it with fresh eyes later. Then you will want to do a read-through while making all sorts of notes to yourself. The margins may be full of scenes that need to be rewritten or characters that need more clarity. Then go back and complete all the pieces that need to be rewritten.

Editorial Reviews
If it at all fits in your budget, you should consider obtaining an editorial review, or a structural edit. Just like there are indie authors, there are also indie editors who can evaluate and edit your book for you. This can be especially useful as an experienced editor can spot discrepancies or errors. After the editorial review you’ll want to consider the suggested revisions.

The Value of Beta Readers
Beta readers can be an invaluable asset to the indie author. Make sure that you are happy with your finished book before you hand it over to beta readers. This can be done in a few different ways. You may find a local book club or a reading group who will be willing to read your book and offer unbiased feedback. You may also want to choose five or so individuals who are willing to read your book and offer feedback. Either way it can be a great way to obtain a reader’s viewpoint of your work before finalizing copy. Just remember that you don’t want to start making a lot of changes based on the feedback of just one person. However, if you hear the same thing from more than one person you probably have something that needs to be addressed.

Revisions and Proof Reading
Once you have received feedback from beta readers you’ll want to make any necessary revisions. Then you will want to read through the text very carefully. You may wish to also use a proof reader. At this final stage, keep a keen eye out for any grammatical errors or mistakes like misspellings. 

After everything has been gone over with a fine-toothed comb, you’re ready to publish your book. As an indie author, you can publish directly with retailers or use a service that allows you to easily distribute to many retail channels through one publishing process. Draft2Digital, for example, offers a customer friendly service that will distribute your book through sales channels such as CreateSpace, Kobo, and Apple iBooks. 
photo credit: Mike Rohde via photopin cc

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