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How to Prepare Your Manuscript for Publication

How to Prepare Your Manuscript for Publication

What is a Manuscript?

When used in publishing terms a manuscript is the typewritten or handwritten draft of any literary work. It is understood to be an author’s written, typed, or word-processed copy of a work, as distinguished from the print of the same. Before the arrival of printing, all documents and books were manuscripts. Manuscripts are not defined by their contents, which may combine writing with mathematical calculations, maps, explanatory figures or illustrations. Manuscripts may be in book form, scrolls or in codex format. Illuminated manuscripts are enriched with pictures, border decorations, elaborately embossed initial letters or full-page illustrations. In short a manuscript is the prototype of a book before it is made into a book.

How do you make a Manuscript?

When you create a manuscript, there are many things to take into account. In truth when it comes to the book production process this is the most difficult because it takes a lot of time to come up with the main concept of the book. It takes a lot of hard work, soul searching and hours and hours of writing to make one. And it does not even count the additional hours of revision and double checking. It is understandable though, if you take into account of the fact that some books have at least 100,000 to 200,000 words. Which is why you’ll need as much help as you can when you start writing a manuscript. Here are some very useful tips.

  1. Make a writing schedule that you can keep, as it was stated before the writing process takes a very long time. So you should really make plans on what time you start on your manuscript and how much time you plan to give to this schedule. It can be anytime, just as long as you can regularly keep up with the schedule.
  2. Make your workspace as comfortable as possible, it can be a café, your room or even a cabin in the woods. All that really matters is that you are comfortable.
  3. Leave the formatting and corrections for later. When you make your manuscript, especially for the first time your full attention should be on the content.
  4. Make an outline for your manuscript. Think of it as the blueprints for your book, and like any blueprint your outline must be well thought out. Don’t rush the process.
  5. Read books for inspiration. This does not mean that you get their ideas for yourself. Just use their ideas to fuel your own creative drive.
  6. Ask advice from fellow authors. It pays to ask help from fellow writers because they are some of the only people that can relate to how difficult it is to create a manuscript.
  7. Have family critique your work. It is kind of difficult to have someone go through your work and point out the inconsistencies, but if you want to be a good writer you will have to toughen up and take the criticism. So it’s best that you have family and friends check your work because you know that their criticism is not malicious but is meant to make your work better.
  8. Make a deadline for yourself. This is not meant to pressure you or give you any anxiety. It is meant to give you a feeling of responsibility for your own work.
  9. Double check your work before you send your manuscript to any publishers.
  10. Have your work checked by a professional copyeditor. Although it is good to have trust in your abilities it is still a good idea to have your book checked by a professional. It just adds to the quality of your work.

How many words should a manuscript have?

When it comes to how many words a manuscript should have, there really is no set word count. It all really depends on the genre and whether it is your first time to write a novel or you are already a veteran writer. If you are writing an adult novel 70,000 to 80,000 words are quite acceptable, but 100,000 words seem a bit too much for an adult novel. For Science fiction books 100,000 to 150,000 words are perfect, not too short that it would lack detail and not too long to make it tedious. For middle grade books 20,000 to 25,000 words is the best amount. When it comes to Young adult novels 55 to 69 thousand words are quite acceptable. For picture books 500 to 600 words are good enough. For westerns 50,000 to 80,000 words are good. As for memoirs 80 to 89 thousand is perfect. These word counts are usually the format followed by a number of writers and is thus taken as a norm.

Why are manuscripts refused by publishers?

There are a lot of reasons why manuscripts are refused by publishers. Here are some examples.

  1. The manuscript follows recent trends too closely. Although it is understandable that some authors want their books to be relevant. But sometimes following trends tend to make your book too common and in the end lose its uniqueness.
  2. The manuscript has too many errors. Although it is quite acceptable that there are some grammar mistakes on your manuscript, too many mistakes may deter the publishing house from accepting your work.
  3. The characters are too boring. When your characters have no personality and are as bland as stale bread there really is no reason for a publishing house to take it up.
  4. The plotline is predictable. It is very unlikely that your work is selected if your plots are too linear and the twist can be seen a mile away.
  5. It is too preachy. Although it is a good idea to have a moral in the story, being too preachy in your manuscript could make your book boring and unattractive to prospective publishers.
  6. It is too repetitive. The story may be moving too slowly and tends to repeat itself.
  7. The story may seem too orchestrated. One of the things that a publisher usually looks for in a story is authenticity. If the story does not seem feasible in real life, there is little chance of it getting published.
  8. The words used may seem pretentious.
  9. The story has no cohesion. The storyline is all over the place and the events and characters do not seem to mix well with one another.
  10. It is just plain boring. Although there are no glaring errors, the story in itself is just to plain, it does not seem to pop and can’t get the reader’s attention.

Where should you submit your manuscript?

In submitting a manuscript, there are two options. You can send your work to a traditional publishing house. A traditional publishing house has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that you need not pay a thing for the production and promotion of your book. The disadvantage is that you will give up a majority of creative and monitory rights to the company. The other option is that you can send your work to self-publishing houses. When you self-publish, the advantage is that you will have overall freedom for your book. The disadvantage is that you will have to pay for the production and promotion of your book.

How Much Does It Really Cost to Self-Publish a Book?

How Much Does It Really Cost to Self-Publish a Book?

All over the world there are a multitude of writers who have created a number of manuscripts and have dreamed of having them published.

But sadly, due to the uncertainty of getting accepted through traditional publishing their dreams have gone unfulfilled.

This is where self-publishing comes in.

Through self-publishing you can have your book published without going through the hassle of going to a traditional publishing house and waiting to be selected.

The main question though is how much does it really cost to self-publish a book?

Is it cheap?

Is it expensive?

This answers the main question, how much does it cost to get self-published?

Before we delve into the more technical aspects of self-publishing though and its costs, it is best to give a summary on self-publishing and what potential authors should expect.

The difference between self-publishing and traditional self-publishing is the fact that self-publishing is all in all funded by the author, from cover design to overall publishing all the costs is shouldered by the author, while in traditional publishing the costs is shouldered by the publishing house.

Thus if you choose to self-publish you should expect that you will have to spend money to sell your book.

Let’s break down the costs of the self-publishing process, and we’ll share some secrets to bring those costs down if you’re budget-conscious.

Just remember though that the main intent when you self-publish a book is that it should be of good quality and marketable.

The process usually involves the following:

  • Development editing
  • Copy-editing
  • Cover design
  • Formatting For Print And Digital Conversion
  • Getting An ISBN
  • Distribution
  • Getting Your Book Printed
  • Getting Reviews Pre-Publication
  • Marketing & PR

Development editing

This process usually begins after you have already finished making your manuscript.

Having a developmental editor is necessary because an editor’s main job is to evaluate and critique your manuscript, suggest and provide revisions, and make sure it is good enough for publishing.

The costs of having a developmental editor look at your work depends on the amount of experience the editor has and the amount of hours worked on the manuscript.

The costs could range from $2,520 to $18,200 depending on the quality of work and yet again experience of the editor.

Copy-editing

After having your work looked at by the developmental editor you should have a copy-editor have a look at your work and see if it needs any further corrections, such as spelling mistakes and adjustment for grammar, punctuation and consistency.

The costs could range from $840 to $7000 depending on the amount of work done and the experience of the editor.

Cover Design

This is a very important part of the process because readers predominantly choose books by their covers.

True if a book has good reviews readers may also buy it.

But as a neophyte writer you should pay special attention to the quality of your book design and make sure that it catches the attentions of the reader.

It is imperative that you make the book cover pop.

There are various ways you can have your book cover made.

One way is doing it yourself if you have the skills and using your own images or buying the license of a specific image. You can also buy premade cover designs for as low as $50.

If you hire someone to make a custom cover design, you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $3,500

Formatting For Print And Digital Conversion

This part of the process really depends on your tech-savviness.

If you have the tech skills you can use programs like Sigil, Calibre or Pages. If you prefer to hire an expert, you can find someone to do the print-on-demand conversions for as little as $150 or as much as $2,500 to convert from Word or InDesign.

Getting an ISBN

ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a must when it comes to self-publishing. This is because should you wish to have the book published under your name the ISBN is a prerequisite. You can purchase them for $100 each $250 for ten.

Distribution

This technically for free, because you can get your book distributed to various retailers.

Getting Your Book Printed

Nowadays there are various ways to self-publish a book.

With the rise of self-publishing houses all over the world the options are limitless.

But the best way for you to save is by going with print on demand companies wherein the books get printed only when someone buys them.

That way you don’t have to stock them and risk them getting ruined by rats, termites or the elements. And due to the fact that you don’t need to get them printed outright there are no fees to pay upfront.

Getting Reviews Pre-Publication

When it comes to getting reviews for your books, the best way to get them reviewed is by going to professional reviewers.

You can go to sites like Kirkus, BlueInk and Publishers Weekly. These sites sell review packages.

You can also go to a multitude of bloggers that can help critique your work.

The usual cost of a review differs from one site to the other. Kirkus usually costs around $425, BlueInk Reviews usually costs around $396 and Publishers Weekly costs $149.

Marketing and PR

Marketing and PR is crucial when it comes to selling your book, because the better you conduct your marketing and PR the more widespread your selling range is.

The best way is to hire someone to market for you and set up blog tours. This could cost you around $10 to $40 an hour. Should you get a professional marketer it may cost you around $40 to $65 an hour.

It is recommended that you have someone market for at least 10 hours and on the high end around 40 hours. You can also do some marketing in your spare time.

The thing to remember when you self-publish a book is that the success and failure of your book is up to you. It all really depends on how much effort and resources you are willing to invest on the success of your book.

6 Easy to Follow Tips on Self-Publishing a Bestseller

6 Easy to Follow Tips on Self-Publishing a Bestseller

The self-publishing industry has been going through a transition period the past few years, what started out as a novelty item for the publishing industry has grown into a force to be reckoned with.

Now the self-publishing industry has risen into a viable substitute for traditional publishing.

Through the years a number of self-published books have become bestsellers and have proven to critics that Self-publishing is an effective way to market books. But it is not all easy, in order for you to truly reach your full potential as an author you must not only be able to create great content for your work but be able to market it effectively as well.

Here are 6 easy to follow tips on how to self-publish a bestseller.

1.) Create a platform

What I mean by platform is to create a means for your book to be noticed by the public. No matter how good your book is, you will still have a hard time marketing it, if you do not have the proper publicity to make it known to the general public you will find it very difficult to sell your book. Your platform can come through many ways. It could be done through Blogs on bigger sites that aggregate bloggers or podcasts or any form of media that can spread word on your book.

2.) Write… a lot                    

Self-publishing is all about writing and sharing your own perceptions on the world. And like all art forms you get better by practicing it. So in order for you to be a truly proficient writer you should exercise your writing muscles every chance you get. You could do it early in the morning or any time you have free time. You can also make a quota for yourself, like 300 to 3000 words every day.  That way you can practice your skill and keep yourself disciplined at the same time.

3.) Have a plan and stick to it

Once you start out as a self-publishing author you should have a definite plan on how to achieve your goal of creating a bestselling book. You can do this by self-publishing with or without the help of Self-publishing companies.  If you choose to self-publish independently, you will find out that it is a cheaper alternative to hiring a company, on the downside though you will find it a very arduous process wherein you will have to handle every aspect of the book production. From book creation to marketing, everything is in your hands. If you choose to hire a company the trade up for the higher costs is the easier book production and the guarantee of all the marketing opportunities offered by the company. Whichever plan you may choose, what you should remember is to always stick to your plan.

4.) Editing

Constant editing gives the book a very professional feel and gives you the chance to have others give opinions on your work. Hiring a professional editor to check on your work will guarantee that your work will be in the best condition possible.

5.) Title

Choosing a fitting title is a very important task for any would be author. Sometimes the very title of a book could be the difference between success and failure for a marketing scheme.

6.) Marketing

Probably the most important aspect of self-publishing is marketing. As said earlier you could have the most interesting book in the world, but without proper marketing it will not see the light of day. As a self-published author it can be difficult to market your work if you do not have the proper connections and advertising can be quite expensive if you do it by yourself. This is why hiring a self-publishing company, although expensive at first is a safer bet in marketing your book. Through the company you have a team of marketing specialist that will handle the marketing aspects of your book and give you more free time to handle other aspects of your book.

A Comparison Between Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing

A Comparison Between Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing

Authors nowadays have many options on how to publish their work. The two main options though are self-publishing which is defined as the publishing of a book at one’s own expense and traditional publishing which is defined as the publishing of a book with the help of an established publishing company. The two types of publishing each have their own characteristic that are advantageous to the author. In this article we look at the subtle differences of the two and see how they could help the author achieve his dream of publishing his book.

The process of the two types of publishing are different.

Traditional Publishing Model

Image by WritersDigestShop

In Traditional publishing, the author completes his or her manuscript, then writes a query letter or a proposal, and submits these documents to a publishing house (or has a literary agent do this for them, if one can be acquired). An editor reads it, considers whether it is right for the house, and decides either to reject it (leaving the author free to offer it to another publisher) or to publish it. Once the publishing house decides to print the book, the house gets the rights from the writer and pays him or her an advance on future royalties. After this the publishing house has the authority on how they wish to market the book and when to print it.

Whereas in Self-publishing the process is very different.

Self-Publishing Model

Image by WritersDigestShop

In Self-publishing an author who decides to self-publish basically assumes all the tasks of a publisher. The author has sole responsibility to proofread the final text and provide the necessary funds to have the book published. The author is responsible for creating marketing services and distributing the book, filling orders and creating publishing packages to entice readers to buy the book.

The main differences between the two publishing types are very evident. One such difference is the time it takes to have the book printed. In the case of traditional publishing it can take a long time for a manuscript to become a book. This is because there are so many factors that may delay the books publishing. One such factor is that there are a large number of manuscripts that are also waiting to be published. And because of this the manuscript cannot be given full priority. In the case of Self-publishing the author has sole command of his or her manuscript. In self-publishing the author can have his or her manuscript printed at any time. Another important aspect of both publishing types is the issue of money. When it comes to traditional publishing there is already a pre-set budget set aside by the publishing house to effectively publish and market the book. And seeing as the publishing house has a reputation to up-hold it is not farfetched to say that the budget can be uncommonly large. Whereas in the case of self-publishing, wherein the author takes sole responsibility for having the manuscript published, the author then has to shoulder all the expenses whether it is printing fees to marketing plans. All the funds will have to come directly from the author.

Self-Publishing Creative Control

Image by Digital Book World

 

Lastly there is the topic of creative control, in the case of traditional publishing the author is given little to no creative freedom when it comes to his or her book. This is because the publishers always have a say in how the book will be printed and marketed. Whereas in the case of self-publishing, the author is given greater freedom in how to publish and market the book.

All in all both types of publishing has their own merits. On the part of traditional publishing the author is spared the stress of having to publish and market the book and he or she is still entitled to royalties from the book. In the case of self-publishing the author is given complete creative control of the book but also has to shoulder the cost of having the book printed and marketed. In many ways the decision is all up to the author and how he or she wants it to be done.