Welcome back to my series on how to self-publish your book, looking at what will need doing and when, as well as how to give your book the best chance possible. In the last stage, we looked at setting the scene for self-publishing and making preparations for the first steps of your journey.
By this point, your manuscript should be complete and ready for the editorial process and you should have a description, blurb and copy for the back cover ready. You should also be sure of the title and subtitle (if you are having one) and have started some marketing. If you are unsure about any of this, take a look back at Stage 1.
In this stage, we will be thinking about getting a professional edit done and considering the cover design. You will also be continuing to market your book, as it is vital that you keep this up until and beyond the book is published. All of this means that your first consideration is to…
Build Your Team
If you are self-publishing, you will need to work with a lot of other people with different skills to get your book in the best position possible. At this stage, we will be picking a copy-editor and a cover designer for your book, with more in the next stages! Obviously, it is a very important decision to choose who you will work with, so make sure you give it plenty of thought.
You also need to make sure that you are hiring professionals who know what they are doing and will make your work better. One way to do this is to get recommendations from other authors, maybe friends or members of the same group, in person or online.
The advantage of this is that (provided you trust these people’s opinions) you already know that the professional in question is good, this doesn’t need proving or extensive research.
The disadvantage is that all people are different and work differently, so the copy-editor that your friend loved working with may not suit your style of writing or how they make corrections. You can establish this better by talking to the copy-editor themselves and possibly having a sample edited by them, so you have a good idea of their style of editing.
Get Your Manuscript Copy-Edited
Now that your manuscript is written and has had a developmental edit, been beta read or you have got feedback on it, it is time to consider copy-editing as the next step. Taking the time and money for good copy-editing can make your book much stronger and clearer to the reader, resulting in better reviews and more sales.
Bear in mind, however, that this is assuming that your manuscript has had some sort of editing already and is at a stage where copy-editing is the appropriate next step. If you unsure of what copy-editing involves and whether your book is ready for it, take a look at my blog on the different levels of editing.
A copy-editor will mainly be working at a sentence level, looking at grammar, spelling, punctuation and sentence structure. They may also do some minor fact-checking, which can be particularly useful in non-fiction, although this is typically covered more fully in an earlier edit. In addition, they will check for consistency of names and places, word choices and points such as hyphenation.
Decide on a Creative Brief for Cover Design
You are now at the point where you need to think about how you would like your cover to look. This is a very important part of self-publishing as a good cover will encourage readers to look at your book and possibly buy it. In a lot of cases, it will be your first chance to make an impression on potential buyers. It is possible to create your own cover in programs such as Canva, but due to all these reasons, it may be better to hire a professional designer.
You will need a creative brief to give the designer, which should include details such as title, genre and intended audience. You should also research by looking at some of the covers of bestselling books in your genre and considering what makes them work, if there is anything you don’t like, and why. All of this information can then be passed on to the designer for them to take into account in their work.
Hire a Cover Designer
Now that you have your creative brief, it is time to consider choosing a designer for your cover. It is important to carefully consider at this point what their style of designing is and whether this suits what you are hoping for.
The best way to go about this is to look at their portfolio, which should contain their past work. This means that you can see not only their style but also what else they have worked on and which genres, if any, they specialise in. Taking the time to look at all of this means that you have a much better chance of finding a good match for your book.
Try to make your brief as clear and comprehensive as possible and make sure you are available for queries. This will reduce the chance of costly revisions and save both you and the designer time and trouble in the long run. Also, consider what size and trim of cover you will need and pass this on to the designer.
You should now have a lot of the preparation done for self-publishing and will be waiting to get the copy-edit and cover design back. Next time we will be looking at reviewing these, as well as getting the interior design underway, so drop by then!
Want help proofreading your work? Contact Carmine Proofreading for a friendly, professional service from a qualified proofreader.