How to Write a Book: Part Three

Reading time ~5 minutes

Now that we’ve drafted our novel, buddied up with some awesome CPs, and recruited beta readers, it’s on to the final post in our writing process breakdown.

Week 3: Professional Edit and Publication

  1. Next is the professional edit. I recommend this step to literally everyone. You technically don’t have to if you are submitting it for publication, but if you are previously unpublished, I still think it’s worth it. You want to make the best first (and often only) impression, so why not put your best foot forward?
    • I suggest looking on Goodreads for newer editors, as this can save you literally thousands. I found my editor there, and I’m so happy with the work she’s doing. Check out my post about my editor, Cecily here.
  2. Edit based on your editor’s suggestions.
    • Just like the feedback from your betas and CPs, the decision is yours! You can make changes, keep what you had before…YOU get to decide :)
    • If self-publishing, you probably want another round of professional editing. It’s a great idea if you have the time and budget.
  3. Now is the time to ask your family and friends to read your book, and find any errors. You want to catch as many as you can before the book goes out.
    • Also, have another listen with text to speech software.
  4. Your manuscript is now ready! YAY!
    • Self-publishing: Cover art time.
      • Unless you are a graphic designer, PAY SOMEONE TO DO THIS! Covers sell books. Fact.
      • Look at some of your favorite self-published book covers, and see who they used.
      • Alternately, check out a freelance site, like You can have tons of designers pitch you their ideas, for one flat rate. Then you can work with the designer of the one you like best to tweak the cover, as needed.
    • If you are using traditional publishing, you can send your manuscript to a few publishers that accept unsolicited manuscripts, but you are probably going to need an agent (which you hopefully already found. See previous post)
      • Make sure your agent is a real agent, as there are no restrictions to calling yourself a book agent. There are a TON of scammers. Your agent should NOT ask for money up front; they work on commission.
      • They should also be in close contact with you about their progress and feedback about your book. They will often give you recommendations on what you should change in your book to make it more marketable to publishers.
      • If the agent is asking you to change too many things that you find essential to your story, they may not be a good fit. It’s okay to move on to a new agent.
  5. Book release time!
    • Self-publishing: You have your cover, you have your book; you’re ready to list it.
      • Post about the upcoming release on all of your social media accounts. You should have a plan for a book launch. This is essential marketing time, so don’t waste it! As I discussed last post, I’ll be writing more on this topic in the future, but I recommend checking out Jenna Moreci’s SkillShare Class. You can even get a free trial of SkillShare!
      • Find ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) readers who will read and review your book (in exchange for a free copy of the book. DO NOT ask them to buy the book. You can find these lovely people on Goodreads and social media.
      • You will send your book with the request that reviews be posted on release day. Give them a good month or so before the release date. You want to send as many of these out as you can. I know it sucks giving your book away for free, but it’s money well spent. Reviews sell books, plain and simple.
      • Remember you can’t request your ARK readers give positive reviews, just honest reviews. So, keep this in mind when picking your ARK readers. If they only read horror and you write romance, even if they offer to do it, you likely aren’t going to get a glowing review.
      • If possible, as a new author, it’s nice if your ARCs will accept e-books. This lowers the cost for you to nothing, as opposed to printing and shipping costs.
      • Amazon has been cracking down on reviews with the disclaimer “I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an unbiased review”. These reviews are being deleted, so some reviewers are leaving this off of their review since it’s an unbiased review, but this is up to the reviewer. They can also post their feedback on Goodreads, Kobo, Nook/B&N, on twitter, their blogs, etc.
    • Traditional publishing: A publisher bought your book! AMAZING! They may offer you an advance. This can range significantly, but as a first-time author, it isn’t going to be huge. Also, remember this is an advance, so you will pay it back in book sales.
      • Example: If they give you $5,000, and your take from each book is, say $1, you have to sell 5,000 copies until they start paying you again. Also, don’t forget that income tax needs to be paid on the advance.
      • Also, don’t think you are free from marketing because you used traditional publishing. Unless you are a celebrity, your publishing company is going to expect you to do the lion’s share of the marketing.

So that’s it! I hope you enjoyed this series, and it helps you guys get a birds-eye-view of the writing process. Please feel free to add comments/ ask questions below, on Twitter, or Facebook

Part 1: Messy Beginnings
Part 2: CPs and Beta Readers

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