How to survive the publication process

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The plan

How to 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. You need to find an editor, know how much to pay them, understand what they do. You need to know how to handle having your book edited, know what to do to get the book formatted or designed and so it goes on.

That’s a lot of stuff to deal with.

It can feel overwhelming, even if you have a project editor do the bulk of the work for you.


It is manageable if you remember a few simple tips. Here are my top three.

1: Perspective

If you want to survive the publication process you need to be able to plan, be flexible and stay calm. Above all, you need to be able to retain a sense of humour in the face of adversity.

As a professional editor, I produced hundreds of books and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that very few – and possibly none – of them went exactly according to plan.

If you want to survive the publication process you need to be able to plan, be flexible and stay calm. Click To Tweet

I soon learnt that this was all part of the process; it’s publishing!

Getting books out on time, within budget and to the standard required was far more about having the ability to manage my emotional state than it was being able to manage the publication process. My view was that I was producing a book. I wasn’t performing life-changing brain surgery or flying a plane-load of people to a far-flung destination – I was simply producing a book.

The reality!

So my number one tip to surviving the publishing process is to maintain a healthy perspective on the situation. Stay calm and have confidence it will all work out (it usually does).

Remember, producing your book is important, but it isn’t brain surgery. I found that maintaining my perspective definitely helped me to cope when things got stressful, especially when it seemed as if everyone around me had lost theirs!

2: Options

The other thing that helped me to survive the publication process was the knowledge that I had options. I wasn’t working in a factory and not all the tasks needed to be done at a specific time and in a particular order.

As a editor, I got a lot of books finished on time because I was prepared to ask another professional to work a bit faster (within reason, of course, I wasn’t an ogre!). Or I’d to prioritize one of my projects over another. I also got certain books done because I was prepared to be creative and think of ways to do things differently.

So my second tip for surviving the publishing process is to remember that you always have options. Like me, you can choose how to go about getting the job done. You can decide how fast and in what order you want to do some tasks in relation to others. If you are behind schedule with your writing, ask your editor if they need the whole two weeks or if they could do the job in one week. Or perhaps you can get the first part of the book to them while you finish some other parts.

3: Focus

My third and final tip for ensuring you survive the publication process is to focus on the final goal. Remember what you’re aiming for: a published book. As long as you have it by a certain date, it doesn’t matter that it’s all been a bit messy in places. Nobody will know because they’ll just see the final book.

As an editor, when things went wrong, I simply focused on the goal. I assessed whether it was still achievable and decided what my options were for achieving it. I knew that if I stayed calm, thought things through and used my initiative, I could achieve my goal.

So my third tip for surviving the publication process is to stay focused. Keep your eye on the end result and don’t get distracted by the bits that go a bit awry in the middle. It’s just publishing!


When you think about publishing your book, remember these three tips and you will find that rather than simply surviving the publication process you will begin to glide through it.

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