“I have written my book and done a spell check. Is my book ready for publishing?”
Well, you can publish it now. In this age of self-publishing, you can publish anything. Nothing is stopping you from uploading it onto Amazon or other e-book sites and putting it out there.
But you'll want people to want to read it. And you want your book to sell. Or you might want an agent to offer you a contract.
If you do, then the answer is most likely no.
Once you have written your book and done your spell check, there are a few more steps to go through before your book is ready for publishing, whether self-publishing or traditional publishing.
“What if I’m self-publishing?”
If you are self-publishing, you don’t want to sell yourself short on quality. Self-publishing is not the second-best option to publishing a book, and readers still expect quality. Many self-publishing writers have been very successful. It is just another method to the same end goal.
But the responsibility rests with you to ensure your book has the quality to appeal to readers and be worth the money they paid for it.
“What if I approach a publisher? Won’t they help me with this?”
If you are approaching a publisher, it could be easy to be complacent. After all, you feel you have a good story and they would be doing the editing in-house anyway.
But remember that you are competing against many other writers who are all submitting their manuscripts. You want yours to be the best it can be. You don’t want your manuscript to end up on the slush pile because you haven’t made an effort to make your manuscript as good as you can get it.
If your book has a good story structure, flows and the manuscript is clean, you have a better chance of being offered a contract.
“How can I get my book ready for publishing?”
There are several steps that take a book from its draft form to being ready for publishing. I have written about this in more detail, but below are the basic steps.
First, you need to get your book as good as you can get it yourself.
Revise, revise, revise.
Check the story line, whether the characters are believable, whether the language flows, and then make the spelling and grammar as good as you can.
Then get friends who you can trust to read it and give you feedback on the story line (grammar and spelling can wait). Or you can use a beta reader – they have experience in giving feedback on the story line. The better your manuscript is at this stage, the less it will cost you in the long run.
And then you hire an editor. Editors are trained to help you get a manuscript as good as it can be, while still keeping the writer’s own style (or voice).
Manuscript assessors (also called developmental or structural editors) can help with the story line, structure, characters and setting. You may wish to do this step even before you talk to the friends or beta readers.
Once your structure is good, then you need a copy-editor to make sure the language flows and is appropriate. And finally, you need a proofreader to check all the spelling and grammar is correct and there are no other errors left in the manuscript.
This is not a quick process and can take quite a few months.
Your manuscript should now be ready to be published.
If you have written a book and don't know what the next step is or this all sounds too overwhelming, I can help.
I am a copy-editor and proofreader based in New Zealand. My business, Clearlingo Editing and Proofreading, caters to all writers of fiction and non-fiction books. I can discuss with you where your book is at and what you need to do next.
For more information on how I can help you make your book shine, please contact me on: www.clearlingo.co.nz/contact.
I would love to hear from you.
Marja Stack is a copy-editor and proofreader based in New Zealand. Her business, Clearlingo Editing and Proofreading, caters to all writers of fiction or non-fiction books. For more information or enquiries for how she can help you make your book shine, please see her website: www.clearlingo.co.nz.
New Zealand English Series
*How to punctuate dialogue
*NZE: hyphens, en dashes and em dashes
*NZE: How to write times and dates
*NZE: Is our spelling different?
*NZE: Burned vs Burnt
*NZE: Using Māori words in English text
*NZE: -ise vs -ize endings
*NZE: Single or double quote marks
*NZE: Punctuation inside or outside quotation marks?
The Editing Process
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*Types of editing
*5 things to tell your editor
*The revision and editing process
*What are beta readers?
*What to expect when you get your manuscript back
*How to order the pages of a book
*Fact checking fiction writing
*Formatting your manuscript for submission
*How long does it take to edit a book?
*Why I belong to editing associations
* How to write recipes for cookbooks and blogs
*How to self-publish your book in New Zealand
*How to use Tracked Changes in Word
*How to use basic Word Styles
*How to fix common formatting errors in Word