Blogumentary: Step 5 – Cover Design, Formatting, & Publishing

Okay, I know. I’m a few years overdue for this post. If you’ve been following along with this series and going through the process of writing a book, then you’ll remember we left off with a finished manuscript.  (If you’ve been waiting on me this whole time before proceeding, then shame on you!  And me.  Also shame on me.)

This is where it starts to get really exciting, and even more difficult to stay patient. The last thing you want to do at this point is rush to the finish line just so you can say you’ve written a book and are a published author. For me it’s really tricky to control my excitement, but trust me, it’s absolutely necessary. I know authors who get excited and breeze through some of the steps I’ve already mentioned through this series, and it shows. For the sake of the example, we’ll call this person Jim. Jim’s work is sloppy, full of spelling errors, subject/verb agreement issues, hell, I’ve even seen a book that had the same chapter printed twice. I’m talking about people who have published over 10 books. I imagine the excitement doesn’t go away just because you’ve done it before, but stay patient. I also know authors who have published one or two books, the right way, and they put out a completely polished, professional quality novel. You would never guess that they’re a self-published, independent author. That’s the power of proper planning, a keen eye to detail, and patience.

Cover design is something that can’t be overlooked. If you don’t have great cover art, then it doesn’t matter a whole lot how good the content is behind the cover. We’ve all heard the saying, “never judge a book by its cover.” Well, how many books have caught your eye and you purchased them based solely on the cover. People judge books by their cover every single day. The sad part is that saying simply doesn’t apply to the book world. How annoying is that?? This is where you may need to invest in your writing a little bit. If you don’t have the know-how to produce a great cover, then I strongly encourage you to pay somebody who can. It’s worth it. If you rely on a stranger from fiverr, then don’t have high expectations. You get what you pay for. Again, I know authors who go the fast, cheap route and it shows. Their books might be great, but I’ll never know because their cover art simply isn’t good. I would encourage you not to wait until this point to start thinking about the cover design. I like to have my cover finalized before I finish the first draft, that way I can use it to build hype for the impending release and also so I’m not waiting around when the writing is done for the artwork to be finished.

Now it’s time to format. If you self publish, then this hassle is all yours. And it is a hassle. Just because things look right in your word processor program of choice, doesn’t mean it’s going to look the same once it’s uploaded to the printer. Make sure your line breaks, indentions, paragraphs, and tabs are all formatted correctly before you finalize the file with the printer. Once that’s done, order a single proof copy. Again, take a breath and don’t rush the process. If you order 50 copies and the formatting is off, then you have 50 copies of a book that isn’t finished. That’s 50 copies that you don’t want getting out into the world, which means you just wasted a lot of money and are going to have to trash them, make corrections, then order more copies. Patience pays off, folks.

If you’re one of the fortunate few to get picked up by a publishing company, then you probably don’t have to worry about this step. Lucky.

I can’t say it enough – don’t rush the process. Put out a quality product that you can be proud of. Don’t be like Jim.

Thank you, that is all.

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