Writing a non-fiction book for your business, or to share a message or an interest, can be a daunting process.
You know that want to share your knowledge, but if you have never written a book before, you might not know how to begin. Where do you start?
It’s not as quick and easy as some would have you think, but you can do it.
Social media, networking and email subscription have long been on everyone’s marketing plan. Publishing a book is now the trend.
Many successful businesses have launched their business, or grew their business, by publishing a book.
A book can set a you or your business apart and show your expertise. It can show that you are an authority on a particular subject; that people can turn to you to find the answers they need, either by purchasing your book or by talking to you directly.
Most businesses that have published a book use it as a marketing tool, but not a source of income. A book will most likely not generate a huge profit on its own, but it can bring other benefits to your business.
‘What if I share my writing with someone else? What happens if they steal my idea?’
I get asked this all this time. It's natural for writers to be protective of their work.
But are these writers’ concerns warranted?
And what if you want to use song lyrics in your writing? Or you want to use a quote from someone long passed away that you found on a quote website? Can you?
“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.
How long is a piece of string?
It is difficult to say exactly how long it would take to edit a book, as it depends on various factors, but suffice to say, it is not as fast as some writers think. Most editors have had a client or two who thought their manuscript would be back within a week, and then balked when they found out how long it would take.
The title of this blog post may sound a bit like an oxymoron – how can fiction be fact?
I recently edited a manuscript where the character was sunbathing on a sunny winter’s day and got sunburnt. I happen to have grown up in the area where the novel was set, so I knew that there is no way I would be outside in my bathing suit in winter – even on a sunny day – and there is also no way I would get sunburnt if I was.
After months (or sometimes years) of putting everything into writing your book, it would be tempting to finish, hit save, and never look it again, hoping it's perfect. But not even the most experienced authors can do that.
There is still a lot of work to do between writing the final word and having the book on the shelf.
Recently, there seems to be a rise in the number of people preferring to self-publish their books. But if you've never written, let alone published, a book before through a traditional publisher, you may not be aware of all the steps (or how to do them) that go into publishing a book.
So, what do we need to do to make our book the best it can be?
It is tempting to write a book, hit save, and send it off to an editor or publisher without ever looking at it again. It must be perfect, right? You have just put your heart and soul into it.
But not even the most experienced author can do that.
There are a few steps to take before you send your novel to an editor or publisher, and one of these steps is to use beta readers.
Congratulations! You’ve done it. After months (or years) of hard slog and heartache, you’ve finished writing your book. You’ve got it as good as you can get it.
Now it is time to take to the next level.
If you are self-publishing, the next step is to approach an editor to fine-tune and your manuscript and get it ready to send to the publisher or printer for design and typesetting. There are different types of editors, so make sure you understand which stage your book is at and which editor you need to speak to.
Before you speak to an editor, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure everyone is working to the same brief.
Your editor will, no doubt, have more questions for you, and feel free to tell them more – every bit of information helps an editor get a feel for you and your writing.
How do you know which type of editing you need?
Many people think that editing is simply checking a written document for grammar and typos. Yes, this is part of what an editor does, but there are many more aspects to the editing process that need to be completed for a novel or document to be ready for printing.
Not only are there more aspects to editing than just checking spelling, there are several levels (or stages) of editing. The lines can be a little bit blurred between the levels, and different countries or organisations define them slightly differently, but at each stage, the editor focuses on different details until the manuscript is ‘clean’ and ready for printing.
When you are speaking to an editor about their services, make sure you know exactly what their service at each level will include. Don’t assume you are on the same page (so to speak).
Marja Stack is a copy-editor and proofreader based in New Zealand. She is the owner of Clearlingo Editing and Proofreading, which caters to all writers of non-fiction books, business publications and cookbooks. For more information or enquiries for how she can help you make your book shine, please see her website:
- What is plain English?
- Why you should use plain English
- How to write in plain English
New Zealand English Series
- NZE: How to use a semicolon
- NZE: The 'singular they'
- NZE: How to use italics
- NZE: How to write numbers
- NZE: How to write abbreviations
- NZE: How to punctuate dialogue
- NZE: hyphens, en dashes and em dashes
- NZE: How to write times and dates
- NZE: Possessives
- 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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- How to write a book to promote your business
- Copyright and Permissions
- How much does editing cost?
- How to self-publish your book in New Zealand
- When is my book ready for publishing?
- 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
- The basics of writing a cookbook
- How to use Tracked Changes in Word
- How to use basic Word Styles
- How to fix common formatting errors in Word