So now that you have finally finished your manuscript what’s next? The likelihood is that you have trawled the internet looking for advice and possibly feel more confused now than you did beforehand, and with the masses of information available this is completely understandable too.
The information ranges from simply uploading it to your chosen publisher and waiting for the cash to come pouring into your bank account (information given by many ‘get rich quick’ sites and blogs), to paying vast sums of money to book advertising companies who guarantee (for a fee of course) that your book will sell X amount of copies.
However, for most authors you will be working on a specific budget, now if you’ve planned this it should include (as a bare minimum) editing, formatting and cover design, I say as a bare minimum because these three elements of your book are the most important. A good editor will be able to advise as to where your book needs to go to become the masterpiece it was destined to be, your formatting will make it easier to read and your book cover design will make it stand out and look highly professional to your chosen audience.
But you may think to yourself, ‘I’ve written it in Word and I know there aren’t any mistakes, I’m also very eager to get it out to the masses’, again, this is understandable but some restraint is needed (after all, you will have taken longer than a couple of weeks to write it). Getting your book to an editor is recommended by most professionals within the industry and something which can elevate your book dramatically in terms of impact and professionalism.
The good news is that there are plenty of editing services to choose from and you can even check out our own guide to some of the best editing services from our post in the Writer’s Room.
The formatting of your book is the next basic element and like editing is something which can have a dramatic effect upon your reader. Most people will have read books from the big publishing houses and as such will be familiar to a certain standard of layout, your book needs to embrace those high standards to ensure that the font style, font size, layout and overall format is easy to read and pleasing to the eye, it should look so good that the reader doesn’t even notice (a badly formatted book will always standout).
Next we come on to the book cover design itself, now of course you’ll expect us to go on about how you need the best book cover design for your work, and to be frank, you do! There are over 1200 titles being published by indie authors every single day in the US alone, you need to stand out (in a good way). Remember that your book cover design is not only the ‘face’ of your book but it is the advertising too, you have a very small window of time (and we’re talking fractions of a second) to grab your reader’s attention, you’re book cover needs to look professional and it needs to appeal.
Once you have these three elements then you can start to look at the active promotion and sales of your book, again, it comes back to ensuring that your manuscript is polished and will stand up to the reviews of customers and the scrutiny of any publisher or agent that you may wish to engage with. This isn’t to say that the early ‘trickle’ approach to promotion (telling your potential readers about it while you’re still writing it) doesn’t work, far from it, it’s just that when you are about to launch it needs to be the finished article.