Publishing imperfectly – why having a publishing standard matters

When I worked in publishing, we had to find a balance between the need to meet deadlines and the requirement to publish to a high standard. You notice I said “to a high standard”, not “perfect”. That’s because getting each book published was also of high importance (you don’t get far if you don’t get the book out into the market).

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Why publishing a book requires partnership

As a self-publisher, you may think that partnership is going to be the one element you will miss by producing your own book. But that is not the case. The opportunities for partnership are still there.

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Do mistakes matter in a book?

May 15, 2015 |  by  |  Book Production  |  Share

Do mistakes matter in a book? It is a question I often see being asked by self-publishing authors who are reluctant to spend a lot of money on editorial support. The simple answer is 'yes'.

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Surviving the book production process

The book production process is definitely a challenging part of getting your book published. There are four distinct phases to the publication process: conceptualizing and planning, writing and revising, production, and marketing. In my view, as a business owner there is a fifth process, too, and that is monetizing – the process of turning your book into a money-making product or one that significantly develops and grows your business in some way. Today, though, I’m going to focus on the book production process because it is a place that many self-publishing authors get stuck, especially if they want to get their book published in print.

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The Publishing Process – Editing

The publishing process can be confusing and difficult to navigate. When I first started working in publishing, it took me a while for me to totally understand the process, so I sympathise with you if you are coming to it for the first time. The truth is that the publishing process is not set in stone. There are variations to it depending on the format you are using to publish your book: Kindle, (or another electronic format), print (self-publishing), PDF and the traditional method used by professional publishing houses (although this has also changed substantially since the advent of desktop publishing). When I started out in publishing, there were no computers. We did everything on paper. No wonder it took so long to publish a book! The text of the book was produced twice, once as galley proofs (long sheets of typeset pages with no page breaks) and page proofs. In between galleys and page proofs was the design process called paste-up, and yes, the typeset galley text was literally pasted onto printed page templates using a sticky spray glue that allowed pieces of paper to be put in place then moved again if necessary. We went through gallons of that glue! Life got simpler when everything became electronic, although the editors who didn't like computers would probably disagree with me. The arrival of so-called desktop publishing sped up the process by months as the edited manuscript could be pasted (not with glue!) directly from Word to QuarkXpress (the publishing standard software) that the book designer had already set up. The editor could then tweak the page proofs so the text fitted correctly on each page and add editorial and proof-reading changes directly. This meant that the editor and designer were now doing the work that the typesetters and printers used to do. However,...

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Which is the hardest part of writing a book?

Opinion varies as to what the hardest part of writing a book might be. Is it the process of coming up with an idea, choosing a title, creating a marketing plan, executing a marketing plan or actually writing the book?

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Speak your way to a book

There is more than one way to speak your way to a book: create a range of audios, do a series of speaking engagements, or simply dictating your book and getting it transcribed. Speaking offers a great amount of flexibility and a number of advantages that especially suit aspiring authors who prefer to communicate verbally rather than in writing. That said, some of the advantages of speaking your way to a book can be enjoyed by those who like to write as well, so the benefits are definitely transferable.

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The final stage in getting your book done

The final stage in getting your book done is often the hardest because it involves a technical process that can be difficult to understand, and because it can involve working with other people. This can quickly turn into a stumbling block that keeps you turning back to more revisions, and endless delaying unless you finally begin the publication process itself.

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Is it true that self-publishing means rubbish publishing

Some people seem to be of the opinion that self-publishing means rubbish publishing, or at least that to be taken seriously as an author you have to be commissioned by a traditional print publisher.

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Choose the best format for your book

When you write a book, there is a lot to consider and one of the most important decisions you have to make is choosing the best format for your book. You may wonder why format is important and why you need to decide about it before you begin writing. After all, you could publish your book in a number of formats, so why do you need to choose? Here is a summary.

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What would success mean for your book right now

Success does not necessarily mean finishing your whole book, achieving bestseller status or growing your list by hundreds or even thousands. Of course, all of those achievements are huge and big indicators of success. While those pinnacles may be what we all dream of want for our books, we know that smaller achievements can be experienced as significant successes as they take us forward on the path of developing our businesses.

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How to handle a revised deadline

Deadlines can change in the blink of an eye. When I worked at BBC Books, deadlines changed all the time as television transmission dates altered.

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A Brief Guide to the Publishing Process

Publishing is complex process with a lot of technical terms. To help you navigate the publishing process, I have written a brief guide to the key points in the publishing process. Starting with the manuscript, this little guide takes you through from the point where you, as an author, finish writing your book and begin the process of getting it edited and formatted for publication. Manuscript The book, as delivered by the author to the publisher (or editor), is called the manuscript, which roughly means ‘hand-written script’. Before the advent of typewriters and computers, books were often hand-written by the author. When authors began to deliver typed books, the ‘manuscript’ began to be referred to the ‘typescript’. However, in general, old habits die hard and publishers still refer to manuscripts rather than typescripts. Whatever form it comes in, the book that the author delivers to the publisher (or editor) is the finished book that is ready to go through the publication process. The first stage is copy-editing. Copy-editing Copy-editing, (sometimes referred to as line editing or content editing), is the first editorial stage the book goes through. Copy-editing is the process by which glitches in structure, spelling, heading levels and much more is made consistent and clear by the editor so the reader can concentrate on the information in the book rather than how it is delivered. The copy editor’s job is to polish the author’s work by checking details, establishing rules and styles, and adapting the structure (if necessary) so the book flows correctly and is easy for the reader to navigate and read. First page proofs When the editing has been done and the author’s amendments have been agreed and added to the manuscript, the book is sent to the designer so he or she can design the text. These days, the Word document is coded by the...

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Why You Need to Create a Book Project Plan

When you are clear about you purpose in publishing a book, you need to get started making a plan. This is the second Key to Publishing Success and it’s a very big key! As the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. That is reason enough to create a book project plan. But there is more to it than simply avoiding failure, in fact, it’s about creating success. In my experience, if you do not have a solid plan in place for any project that you undertake, you are likely to lose your way with it, give up before you are finished or simply get it wrong in some way that causes you so much confusion and doubt that you set it aside and never return to it. When I worked as a project editor in a busy publishing house, I had no choice but to have a project plan. This project plan was constructed from a number of key documents made up of: Book proposal (created by the author) Publishing proposal (created by the commissioning editor) Publishing specifications and schedule (created by the team) All of these plans recorded a series of key decisions about the title in question. The book proposal This is the document presented to a commissioning editor by the author. It includes a title, synopsis, contents page, sample chapter and suggested book spec (price, length, size). The Publishing Proposal This document combines some elements of the book proposal (though edited and amended by the commissioning editor in conjunction with the author), sales information such as an assessment of the marketplace, sales projection, and details such as a publication date, production costings and a rough schedule. The Book Spec and Schedule After a book is commissioned, details such as the book specifications – price, number of pages, size of the book, delivery date (detailing when...

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A Brief Guide to Publishing Formats for Self-publishers

The publishing format you choose for your book will have an impact on how it performs in your business. Each one has benefits and disadvantages but if you know what you want to achieve, you can make the best choice for your book. There are three key publishing formats you can choose from as a self-publisher: eBook PDF Print Kindle The king of eBook formats is, of course, Kindle, which has achieved worldwide domination via Amazon. There are variations on the Kindle eBook format, of course, including Nook and Kobo but Kindle is king of this format and is the main publishing focus for most writers. So, why is Kindle such a great choice when it comes to publishing? Kindle is an easy and popular format to publish in, especially if you want to create an income as an author but don't want to rely on a traditional publisher for a commission before you start. If you decide you want to publish a Kindle book, you will need to find out how to prepare it electronically and get it listed on Amazon. Amazon provides free books on preparing a book for Kindle so the information is readily available and is easy to understand. The benefit of a Kindle book is the shop-front offered by Amazon – they have the traffic, the software and the billing capabilities that make publishing to this format easy for all writers, especially new ones. Kindle books can drive traffic to your website, bring in a bit (or even a lot) of money and ensure you have an alternative way of getting in front of prospective buyers – who will hopefully become your clients in the future. PDF PDF or Portable Document Format is ideal for producing books that you can sell via your own website. One of the key benefits of this format is that...

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