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  • Is Your Manuscript Ready? Consider These 6 Things Before Publishing

    Book with flowers and birds You’ve finally done it! You’ve finished your book. It’s taken all of your drive, smarts, and creativity, but now all your hard work is over. Or is it?

    Obviously, writing a book is an enormous undertaking, but ask any published writer and he or she will tell you that writing is only the beginning. You need to think about a lot more before you actually publish your book.

    1. Is your book really done?

    Professional writers will tell you that real writing happens during the revision process. Finishing the first draft just means you’ve gotten your ideas down. Have you since gone back and read your book to make sure you’re completely happy with it?

    Now that you’ve reached the end, you may discover that earlier parts of the book are unnecessary or can be improved. Before taking the next step, make sure the writing phase is truly done.

    2. Should you get a professional book editor?

    Short answer: yes. While it’s vital that you take another look at your work before sending it out, it’s just as important that you have an experienced professional editor go over it with a fine-toothed comb.

    Are friends and family members good enough? No, not unless one of them is a professional editor—and even then, you probably want to use someone who doesn’t know you and won’t be afraid of hurting your feelings. Professional book editors will not only ensure your work is free of spelling and grammar errors, they’ll edit for style and tone, point out inconsistencies and areas that don’t work, and offer suggestions to improve anything from plot to characterization.

    3. How will you publish your work?

    There are two main ways to publish your work. You can submit it to a publisher, or you can publish it yourself. Self-publishing used to be a dirty word, but changes in the publishing industry have made it a much more practical avenue for authors today. There are benefits to both processes, and you have to decide which option is best for you and your book.

    This decision can also impact your manuscript, as certain formats and styles lend themselves better to self-publishing than others. Alternatively, you may need to make changes to better target a specific major publisher’s current needs.

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    4. Do you need a marketing plan?

    Even the best books don’t sell themselves. Especially if you’re going to self-publish, it’s vital that you come up with a plan to market your book and make sure the appropriate audience hears about it. Doing this can be a full-time job in and of itself, and many writers find it incredibly daunting.

    If you decide to use a traditional publisher, your marketing job will typically be a lot easier, but you should still be as involved as you can to make sure your publisher sells your book the way you want.

    5. Are there any legal complications to consider?

    Books typically aren’t as mired in legal problems as film and TV projects, but there are still issues you should understand before you publish. For example, if you use someone else’s song lyrics without permission, you can be sued. Also, if you mention a brand name, there’s a chance that company could come after you for trademark tarnishment. Of course, you also need to ensure your work doesn’t include any instances of plagiarism.

    Consider talking to an attorney who works in this area of the law before putting your work out there.

    6. Do you need an agent?

    If you plan on using a traditional publisher, agents can be very helpful. Good literary agents know what specific publishers are interested in and how to get your work in front of them, which may include making changes to your manuscript. They’ll also negotiate the terms of your contract and can help you secure an advance.

    For those looking to self-publish, agents are not as helpful, but they can still offer valuable advice and career guidance as well as suggestions to improve your book.

    To learn more about publishing and discuss your manuscript with an experienced professional editor, contact the team at today.

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