This post continues my series about self-publishing your book. If you haven’t already, you can read stage 1 here, stage 2 here, stage 3 here and stage 4 here. We are now nearly at the printing and distribution stage, so your manuscript should be in good shape. Let’s review what we have done so far:
- Finalised the title and subtitle
- Started some marketing, which should now be well underway
- Invited feedback on your manuscript, from a beta reader or otherwise
- Had your book copy-edited and reviewed this
- Written a creative brief for the front cover
- Hired a designer for the front cover or have done it yourself
- Have done or hired out the interior design and reviewed this
- Added acknowledgements, a dedication page and author bio, if you chose to
- Have done or hired out the design for the back cover and spine (if needed for a print version)
- Have an index for your book (if necessary)
As you can see, you will have already done a lot with your manuscript and it should be looking very polished and professional. This time, we will be preparing the EPUB files for your book (if it will be an ebook) and having one final proofread.
Creating the EPUB files
Again, you can either create the EPUB files yourself or hire someone to do it, depending on how confident you feel with this sort of skill, as well as how complicated your end file will need to be. This is another case of considering what design elements your book has. These include things like pictures, tables, multi-level headings and bulleted lists. All of these things will need extra attention to ensure that they look good and are consistent in the final version.
If you do have a more complicated design or will be hiring someone to create the files, you will need to allow more time in your schedule for things like perfecting the design elements or reviewing a design from a freelancer.
However, if your book is more text-heavy, such as a fiction novel, you may be happy to manage the creating yourself. Many of the major ebook publishers such as Amazon and Smashwords have a conversion process built into their self-publishing system, which could be perfectly good for your needs. This allows you to put in your work just in Microsoft Word and the auto-conversion will be applied. You can then look at the finished result and decide if you are satisfied with how it looks.
You may decide to use a separate conversion process for creating your EPUB files. There are a lot of tools that you can choose from here, such as Reedsy BookEditor and Pressbooks. Some of these tools will charge (although Reedsy is free), but you may decide this cost is worth it.
These tools will probably still cost less than paying someone else to do it for you, so if you are confident with using it, this may be an excellent, cost-effective choice for you and your manuscript. One of the great advantages of self-publishing is having the freedom to make choices like this.
Getting Your Book Proofread
Now that your manuscript has come together and is looking more like a book, it is time to consider hiring a proofreader. A proofreader will check for any spelling, grammar and punctuation errors, as well as ensuring that all headings and design elements have remained the same throughout the book. They will check that the page numbers on a print version are correct and that all pictures and graphs have been inserted correctly.
In short, they will make sure that your book looks polished and ready for release. This is why proofreading takes place at the very end of the production process, giving your book all the final checks as it will be when published.
However, if you think that the proofreading process might flag up a lot of errors, you might want to consider leaving the indexing until after this, as extensive changes at the proofreading stage will mean that page numbers change. This will result in the index of your book needing a lot of alterations to reflect this. Just one extra change that adds a page or takes one out will have a knock-on effect throughout your whole book and all the page numbers after this will need changing.
Likewise, you may need proofreading completed before the interior design process, especially if you are hiring someone else to do this for you and can’t alter the files yourself. This would mean any changes would need to go back to the designer or formatter to be redone, which would be very costly and time-consuming. You will need to weigh up the likely risks and benefits either way.
Of course, you may decide not to have a final proofread at all. This is really only advisable if you have already had a thorough copy-edit and are confident that no new errors have been introduced with formatting, for print or ebook. Again, this might be easier with a fiction, text-heavy book, as detailed design elements are especially likely to introduce errors in the formatting.
If you have not yet had any sort of editing, a basic proofread now is essential to ensure your book looks professional. Remember that a proofreader should also be keeping an eye on your design elements, so all of these look as they should.
If you have been creating a style guide with details of heading sizes and styles, hyphenation style, spelling preferences, etc., pass this on to the proofreader so they can use this in their work. If you do decide not to hire a proofreader, pay particular attention to all of these things yourself, making yourself a checklist if possible.
I hope you are enjoying your self-publishing journey so far! Next time, we will be focusing on preparing for the actual release of the book and thinking about preparing some metadata. Thanks for reading and please let me know how you are getting on in the comments below.
Want help proofreading your work? Contact Carmine Proofreading for a friendly, professional service from a qualified proofreader.