It's February at last. Somehow, we have all survived January.
Make sure that you do any necessary research and check your facts, double check and then check them again. Read your work out aloud or tape it and play it back. Listen to every word because every single word is important. Check every written word carefully. A simple spelling error can change the whole meaning. Copyright your work to avoid plagiarism. This can be done by simply placing © with your name and the date on the front of your work.
Never give out your LAST copy!
This may sound obvious, but if you are really keen for someone to see your manuscript it is tempting to give the last copy out expecting it to be returned when it may or may not be. It is also easy to lose or misplace manuscripts. Yes, when I started writing everything was “hard” copy. Today, everything is electronic but work can be lost on a computer, make sure you have at least one copy on disc as back-up.
Work with a professional editor
These may be found in Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook published by A & C Black or Writer’s Handbook published by Macmillan. It does not matter how confident you are when writing or even if you have a degree in English you still need a second eye on your work. Editors do more than correct English. They pick up on simple omissions like what happened to Lady S after chapter three or a lack of description or duplicated material. There may be simple things which you have overlooked. I was judging books for a competition recently and came across one which was a riveting read and worthy of an award until I realised there were two chapter 26’s and no 27 plus at one stage the story moved on a decade while the protagonist only aged five years. Two very silly errors which an editor would have picked up.
Working with a professional editor was the best piece of advice I was ever given.
Learn about the Publishing Profession
It has its own terminology etcetera, so take a course in Publishing, Editorial Skills and Proof Reading. These are available by correspondence or seminars.
Chapter House is the company I used at www.chapterhousepublishing.com
Tel: 044 1392 811642
Others may be found in the National Press or Writers magazines.
Writers’ Forum www.writers-forum.com
The Writer www.writermag.com
Be your own self-publisher
Take control of your work by doing each step yourself from proof reading through to marketing. There are several companies who offer package deals for the self-publisher which include acquiring the ISBN and marketing. They then pay you a percentage of profit after costs IF they sell any of your books. Find a printing company who will give you a tailor-made deal. These companies advertise in the writing magazines. I used RPM Reprographics but sadly they are no longer in business. Companies may be found on line or in magazines. Or perhaps you just want an e-book, then https://kdp:amazon.com.
This initially will sell your book for you. In the competitive market it needs to stand out and look attractive and inviting but not complicated. Keep it simple. The jacket blurb i.e. the writing on the back will tell the reader what your book is about in just a few words. Personally, I find this an impossible task. My advice: ask your editor to do it for you. Even, if you decide only to have your book in electronic format you will still need a jacket.
International Standard Book Number (ISBN)
This is the number unique to every book. It consists of 13 digits. There is no legal requirement to apply for an ISBN but it is necessary to have one if you wish to sell books through shops and the Internet.
The first digit is a group identifier, the second set of numbers identifies the publisher, the next is the title identifier and the final number is the check digit. Each part is separated by a hyphen.
As your own publisher you apply for a set of ISBN’s to:
"How do you publish a book? This author first self-published fifteen years ago in a different publishing climate. But, that question is one I have been asked on numerous occasions. Originally, I produced a small booklet, "Write It! Publish It! Market It!" with advice and information for going through the process from writing to marketing: what to write, copyright, editing, proof reading, typesetting/text blocking, jacket, ISBN, blurb, page numbers, pricing, printing, promoting, libraries, shops, networking, marketing. I had discovered that it was a long and complicated process with many pitfalls. Print on demand (PoD) made it easier for authors to become publishers because it was possible to have small print runs. Then the e-book arrived, a new concept in publishing. I have updated my original booklet, including appropriate websites and adding my self-publishing story plus a chapter from one of my six books. This publication may be used as guidance for aspiring authors. Good luck to all of you who enter the publishing arena with your own work."