Last week I blogged about finishing the rough draft of the book I’ve been working on. To my surprise, a couple people asked where they could now buy the book. This question reminded me that many readers and new writers don’t understand the steps necessary between finishing the rough draft and actually having a book available to be purchased.
These steps, of course, differ for every writer. Some writers don’t need to do much editing. The story flowed and all these writers need do is correct typos and punctuation. But, not all stories flow, or even if they do, the writer may feel the story needs additional research and tweaking.
Once the writer feels the manuscript is complete as written, it’s time to set it aside. Maybe for a few days. Maybe for a couple weeks. During this down time, it’s good to read books by other writers, watch movies, or visit with friends.
When the writer returns to the manuscript, it’s time for another complete read through. We all hope, at this point, that we don’t find anything that we feel needs changing; on the other hand, this is the time to catch those sentences that don’t read quite right and delete that information that either doesn’t need to be in the story or has already been stated.
The next step has many alternatives. Writers with agents may send the ms to the agent at this time. Other writers may send the ms to Beta readers for their reaction and input. Some might hire a free-lance continuity editor to go through the story. Some might hire a free-lance copy editor to check and correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Some might do all of the above.
If a writer already has an agent, that person should take the next step: suggest changes, if necessary; submit to editors if the ms is ready. If the writer has no agent and wants to sell to a traditional publisher, once the ms has been vetted, it’s time to send out query letters (either to agents or to smaller publishing houses that don’t require agents).
If the writer has decided to self-publish the story, this is the time to format the book (or hire someone to format the book) according to the guidelines supplied by the self-publishing publisher. (These guidelines will differ for e-books, paperbacks, and hardcovers.) It’s also the time for the writer to design or hire someone to design a cover for the book. (If doing both e-book and a paperback or hardcover, two cover types will be necessary.)
Once the above steps have been accomplished, the writer needs to have a short bio ready, photo, short synopsis and/or blurb, and any other inside-the-cover materials that help sell a book.
And then there are the galleys or proofs. Before a book is released, the writer needs to receive a proof (if self-publishing) or an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) of the book to read through (one more time) to catch any errors. If there are no errors, the book is now ready to be put On Sale.