Publishing your own book can be a rewarding process. You have an opportunity to bring your ideas and perspectives directly to your target audience. What’s more, you get to make all the key decisions about style, design, and marketing.
However, self-publishing is certainly not an easy endeavor. To successfully bring your book to the market, there are various tasks you need to ensure are executed effectively. Unless you take a well-organized approach to this, you’re likely to find your road to publication is chaotic at best. Making a solid checklist can help you to navigate these challenges.
We’re going to take a closer look at making this pre-publication checklist. What approach should you take and what elements are important to include?
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Visualize the Publication Process
You’ll likely find the road to self-publication more challenging if you try to keep all the details inside your head. Externalizing the process tends to be a more effective route to establishing a reliable journey for your book. Even before you make your checklist for publication, adopting visual planning techniques can be a useful way of ensuring you’re not overlooking any key actions.
Creating a well-organized flowchart can be useful for effectively mapping out a clear project process. Plot out solid start and finish points, and connect these with the various pre-publishing activities. Utilize different colors or shapes to define specific categories of actions. Be sure to make the chart big enough so that checklist items aren’t cramped or that it looks overwhelmingly populated with tasks.
One of the positive aspects of visualizing the process in this way is that it’s driven by logic. You get to consider what actions must occur before you’re able to move on to the next step in the journey to publication. This is not only more manageable, but it also enables you to be more thorough. Further, the organized nature of the approach tends to be less stressful.
Review the Edits
Naturally, you want to be sure that your book has high quality standards before it goes to print. It is, therefore, vital to ensure having an editor go through the copy with a fine-tooth comb is toward the top of your final checklist. Arranging this early on gives you time to make changes and improvements without blowing your target publication schedule.
It’s not unusual for some self-published writers to feel as though they have the expertise to also self-edit their books. Even if you are technically knowledgeable or even have experience as an editor, you should consider outsourcing your review. This represents additional costs you may need to secure funding for, but it’s worthwhile. It’s possible to be so close to your project that you develop blind spots. This can lead you to overlook subtle errors.
You might also want to consider having a selection of trusted test readers look at the intended final copy. This provides you with additional insights into elements third parties don’t feel are clear. They may even spot errors your professional editor may have missed.
Format Your Files
An essential step to add to your checklist before publishing is formatting your document files. You may have written and edited your book as a standard document, but this isn’t necessarily appropriate to put directly into print or transfer to an e-book. Indeed, while your manuscript may be perfectly aligned with the software you created it in, transferring the file to another file format can change it to an extent that it’s practically unreadable.
Gain some clarity on the type of file you need to create for each type of publication and the challenges you have to address. If you need to transfer a Word document to PDF, conversion can be relatively simple. You’ll also find that not only will the document appear the same in both formats, but it will also be the same no matter what device it’s viewed on. This isn’t necessarily so for other publishing file formats.
For instance, if you’re transferring from a Word document to an EPUB format — the primary format supported on Kindle devices — you’ll likely need to spend more time on file preparation. This is because the book needs to be able to effectively adjust to the different devices, typeface sizes, and page colors consumers choose to read it on. This means going through your document to remove tabbed indentations, standardize the chapter headings, and insert page breaks.
Assess Design Elements
Design continues to be an important consideration for book publication. It helps to draw readers to your book. It also ensures that you’re communicating the content of your publication clearly and effectively. Therefore, you need to put a design review on your final checklist.
Designing a book cover is not a simple matter. You need to be sure that it accurately represents the content of the publication. Readers will make assumptions about the tone of a book by the type of imagery and even lettering styles used on the cover. Wherever possible, take the time to focus-test mockups of book covers before committing to a final design. This helps give you insights into what covers are most representative of your publication.
Another key design element to review is your internal typefaces. While a gothic style might fit with the medieval setting of your novel, it’s not the most readable typeface. Consider whether your choices make for a comfortable reading experience. Your choices here can be particularly important when providing an inclusive product for people living with dyslexia and other visual processing challenges.
Your pre-publication checklist can help you stay on course for a successful book launch. Wherever possible, visualize the road to publication to ensure there aren’t elements you’ve overlooked. Be thorough in your edits and format your publication files mindfully. Assess your cover for relevance and your typefaces for readability. Remember that committing to an organized approach to your publication checklist can influence an efficient and effective book publishing experience.