AHHHH! I feel my time slipping away from me! Someone help! Actually, it isn’t all bad, I like being busy, it’s when I’m not busy that I get a little crazy. This week I was drawing a blank on what I wanted to write for a help post. I actually started scouring YouTube looking for a handy little walk through for writing help on book presentation. I didn’t find anything. Well, I found a lot, but most of them seemed like a complete run down on everything to do with self-publishing, and I didn’t want that. Small steps, right? Anyway, I decided to write one myself.
We are going to focus on presentation for your book, which is so very important. For me, I like the entire experience of a book: the writing, the cover, the interior set-up, and lack of errors. Of course, errors do happen, but as long as they don’t disrupt the story, they aren’t that bad. Now, the three things we are going to discuss are editing, cover design, and formatting. We’ve touched base on editing before, so I won’t go into great depth here.
Editing is so very important. Typically I write my first draft, and it is pretty spot on at that point. Some parts might need to be added and tweaked, and I will do that in the second pass. After that second pass, all other passes are proofing before I send it off to an editor. Make sure you get a good editor, and one who is familiar with your genre is preferred, that way they can help you out some. There are different types of edits and different things they do for each one. If you are confident that the story doesn’t need any work at all, then just do a line edit. If you think your word usage and paragraphs might be confusing, then go ahead and upgrade your edit. An edit shouldn’t cost you thousands of dollars, but a good edit will cost a couple hundred at least. It’s worth it, believe me. If you are unsure of the editor, ask for a sample edit on your work, if you are impressed, then you can go along with that editor. If you have author friends ask them who they use and what the experience is like with them, that’s how I found my current editor and I love working with her. Now, if you are unsure of your wording and if you need more editing than a simple proof reading, ask the editor what they recommend. Hopefully they are a respectable person and they won’t rook you into a ton of stuff you don’t need. If you would like to read more about writing help with editing, follow this link. If the idea of beta reading appeals to you, follow this link to read more about that step. You might have to complete more than one edit, you might want to do two or more depending on how much work you think your book needs. If you do this, you might want to use a couple different editors to make sure they are catching different errors.
The next topic I would like to touch base on is cover design. I’ve seen some authors who are really awesome at creating their own covers, but then I’ve seen some pretty epic fails. If you aren’t the greatest at designing your own cover, I strongly suggest getting a professional to help you. Most of the time you can find some really helpful people that don’t cost an arm and a leg to do cover work for you, and to be honest I feel covers really do sell books. Nine-times-out-of-ten, I buy a book because I love the cover. The cover pulls me in, and even if the blurb isn’t amazing, well hell, the cover is! The cover should express the meaning of your book, and should capture the general feel. Take into consideration, if you are doing the cover yourself, that certain eBook platforms as well as paperback printers have specific dimensions required for the cover. If these are off when they go to print, the cover will look sloppy, and that will make you look unprofessional. We want our readers to have just as good an experience with a self-published book as they would a traditionally published book. This is going to have your name on it, so make sure you get it stellar! What are the dimensions required? I couldn’t tell you because I hire someone to worry about the covers for me!
Formatting! Alright, just like covers the inside of your book is going to need to look good as well. With some know-how and some nice self-help books you can do this yourself. BUT, not only is it tiring, it also takes time that you could spend writing, proofing, or doing a ton of other writerly stuff! The thing here is that these people who format know what they are doing, there’s no guess work on your part or stress wondering if you got it right. You aren’t spending any time on the interior, and you can be sure it will look good from the start. Sometimes, depending on the person doing the formatting, you will get a product that not only looks professional, but looks awesome with little graphics and all that jazz. The good thing about formatting your own work is that it costs you nothing. I’ve formatted three of my own books for print and kindle, and I think they look pretty awesome. BUT, there’s no way I can format them for other platforms. Given time and tons of research, I’m sure I could, but I would stress that there was something wrong with them. I would rather have the peace of mind knowing they were done right. So I will seek out help with them. Lately I’m working on a budgets, so the less I have to pay, the better. However, if you are lost at all in the process, please hire someone. If I had concerns that my work didn’t look good, I would find the money to hire someone in a heartbeat.
Anyway, this is it for today. I hope you’ve learned a lot from this writing help on book presentation. The main thing to remember is that you want your reader to remember you for an awesome book, not a book riddled with mistakes that lacked a good presentation. You don’t want your readers feeling like you’re self-published, leave them with all the good feelings they would have if they were reading a traditionally published books. Because you are self-published you have something traditionally published folks don’t: complete control over your book, cover to finish. Use all of that to your advantage. You’re readers will be thankful.