I reworked the draft three times and the first edit resulted in over 80% of the pages being deleted.
Gutting the book was painful. But I knew it had to be done to write the book I wanted to publish. I also learned that you must write what you want to say, not what you believe others think you should be writing.
Wrestling with the book, I reached a critical turning point in the process – idea validation. The book found its grove, and I knew we were finally moving in the right direction.
After speaking with multiple vanity presses and publishing coaches, I selected to use Create Space (a subsidiary of Amazon) to create the book’s cover and layout. The process would take between six to eight weeks.
On March 25th, I uploaded the manuscript to Create Space, and on April 25th it was published on Amazon. The whole process took only 30 days. I was surprised, and asked the representative why the process took less time to complete. She said most individuals conduct multiple edits after they submit their manuscript which causes delays.
She added that authors can save time by completing their bio, book description and determining their category while Create Space works on the layout. Her comment made me think about Seth Godin’s blog post about understanding critical path and learning to focus on what matters most.
Complete the Follow Action Items – Before Submitting Your Manuscript
Hire a Good Voice / Flow Editor and Grammar Editor
Voice editor is different from a Grammar editor. Voice helps you organize your idea into a workable manuscript. Even though your idea may sound good in your mind, it can be a different story when you put the idea on paper.
I worked with Julie Richie who is an author and editor. We worked to define the book’s purpose, target market and content. My initial draft included content for three different books, and she helped to determine which information would be used for You Posted What!?.
Grammar editor is a must. Even if you were a straight A Honors English student, hiring a grammar editor to review your manuscript is worth the money. Solicit family and friends to review your manuscript for content, flow and grammar. Having multiple set of eyes will help you write a better book.
Spend the money and hire both editors. I also used Grammarly to double check my edits to make sure I did not miss any errors.
The final part of the editing process was reading the manuscript out loud word-for-word. I was taught in high school the most effective way to edit was to read your draft out loud.
Double Check and Recheck Sources
Check and recheck your sources especially if you are quoting other writers and bloggers. I doubled checked all my quotes and writers to make sure they were using creditable sources.
I printed the articles referenced in the book. Computers can crash and digital files can be erased. Should there be a question in the future, I have a historical printed copy of the information that is contained in the book.
Book Recommendations and Back Cover Quotes
Obtain your book recommendations and back cover quotes before you submit your manuscript. The quotes I used for the book cover are from multiple presentations that I gave last year on the growing influence of our digital profiles.
I contacted each person and obtained a written confirmation to use their Tweet and name on the book cover. This information is also saved in a file folder with the manuscript.
Submit Only a Final Draft of the Manuscript
If you are still on the fence and believe you need make more edits, and then do so before you submit the manuscript. My goal was to have the edits completed before uploading to Create Space.
I made a few corrections on the first printed proof and none on the second, which enabled me to publish the sooner than anticipated.
Using Simple Effective Book Covers
Another time saver was creating a simple and effective book cover. If you plan to write multiple books, use this time to create a book cover template that can used for future books. Unless I change my mind, I plan to use the same template for the three entrepreneurship books I am currently writing.
One of the important lessons I learned was not to focus on finding a book title while writing and editing the manuscript. I felt that I needed a book title to define the book’s direction and purpose; however, I discovered this create problems and can limit you as a writer.
The manuscript had two previous names Digital Metamorphosis and Beyond the Four Walls. The old titles feel out place, they also reflect the transformation that occurring during the writing process. Naming a book is similar to naming a product or company, it either works or it doesn’t!
You Posted What!? was originally a chapter heading until Julie said to “No! This is your book title”.
Respond to the Request Immediately
When you receive action items or request from either Create Space or Ingram[http://www.ingramcontent.com/pages/home.aspx], answers and complete the tasks as quickly as possible to keep the process moving. Also, make sure the book description and your bio is completed and edited before you upload the manuscript.
Book Announcement Spreadsheet
Create a book announcement contact list in Excel, MailChimp or Google Docs. Make sure everyone on the list is someone you have met and exchanged contact information (spam rules). I have been sending out personalized emails that include a brief note about the book and link to Amazon. I am also using this time to follow up with former co-workers, classmates and business partners.
Overall I was pleased with the service from Create Space and now have a better understanding of the process.
It was exciting to see my book on Amazon. Being a published author has been a dream of mine since junior high. I’m currently working on three books that focus on entrepreneurship and the Digital Revolution.