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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Three unwelcome truths about book publishing

Over the years, I have come across three unwelcome truths about book publishing that almost every author I have ever met trips over. For self-publishing authors, these three truths are the biggest obstacles to they encounter in publishing their book. In fact, these issues are so huge for aspiring authors that they eclipse the far greater opportunities offered by having a book. So what are these three truths and how can you keep moving towards your goal regardless of their existence?

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Survive the publication process

Many self-publishing authors worry about being able to survive the publication process. And that isn't surprising because it is a demanding time: finding an editor, knowing how much to pay them, understanding what they do, knowing how to handle having your book edited, knowing what to do to get the book formatted or designed and so it goes on.

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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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Set your publishing intentions

If you have not set your publishing intentions you are missing step one of the book publishing process – and that could be a big missed opportunity for you, your business and your book.

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Edit-Amend-Check

People often think I’m joking when I say the publication process takes about 12 weeks. “Why on earth does it take so long?” they ask. And there is a simple answer: because in publishing, you go through the edit-amend-check process time and time again until (hopefully) everything is correct, and you are as sure as you can be that the book is error-free (or as error-free as is humanly possible).

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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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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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Am I capable of writing a book

One of the key reasons many aspiring authors don't even start their book is because they are dogged by the question: ‘Am I capable of writing a book?’ The root of that doubt lies in three places: Your ability to get through the process of writing a book. Your ability to write the number of words to create a book. Your ability to write sufficiently well to write a book

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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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