Getting your book published looks easy, but it’s really not. I want to share here some tips on how I did it.
First step: editing
Editing is essential. Never, ever, think that you can publish your book without an editor going over it. Doesn’t matter how brilliant you may think you are. You need another set of eyes and a good brain for words to iron out your text. I hired Dr. Carl Herzig, Professor of English, St. Ambrose University. He’s BRILLIANT. He’s a wonderful person, excellent to work with and a great editor. He chopped off 10% of my original text and smoothed over the rest. This is the second time I’ve used him and I can’t see how you could do better than to use him.
Time it took: 6 weeks for the first version (my book is about 50 thousand words). Then another 4 weeks going over it and refining it.
Second step: proofreading
Once the book has been edited and the back and forth between you and the editor finalized, you need to send it off to a proofreader. This person will do a last check to make sure nothing got through. I used for this Vishnu Maya Dasi. She’s was quick and professional and spotted several mistakes. Very fair price too. If you write to me I can give you her contact.
Time it took: 2 weeks.
Third step: layout and cover
I’ve been publishing in Brazil for many, many years, so I have a good relationship with a Brazilian publishing house, today called Coletivo Editorial. These days they have working with them an expert layout and cover person, Narada Muni Das. He did my layout and cover work and I really liked it. Very open, fast and willing to change and redesign that parts you don’t like.
Time it took: one month.
Fourth step: proofreading after the layout is done
Once the layout is done, you need to have it proofread again. This person will make sure all the chapter headings are there, no bits of the book were cut off, the numbering is in order and, plus, catch any mistakes left by the editor and the proofreader. For this, I was lucky to have as a friend, Robson Silva, who’s just amazing. He’s like the Terminator of mistake-finding in his precision and attention for detail. He not only proofread the copy for print, but also the ebook files later on.
Time it took: 2 weeks.
Fith step: ebook formatting and publishing
Once you have the InDesign files for your book and the high-res PDF files for your cover, you’re ready to get published. But, man, not so easy! In Brazil, my publishers take care of everything, but for publishing my book in English, I was on my own. I opted for the self-publishing route, because it gives you so much freedom. The book is yours. And you can do with it as you wish. Being in the hand of a publishing house that’ll just sit on your book and maybe never reprint it, is not attractive to me. Unless you’re a hotshot author (and thus not reading this blog post) you probably will not get a publishing deal, nor should you really try for it. Self-publishing is here to stay.
But self-publishing for the first time is a bit daunting. The devil is in the details. And there are a lot of them. So, I decided to get professional help. I hired the services of David Wogahn, of www.davidwogahn.com. He not only does a first-rate job of producing the ebook version of your book, but he handles everything to get your book published professionally. All the nitty-gritty details. I really liked having his help. It was a real relief. He writes: “The one thing I’ll say is that it is easy to look at self-publishing as something anyone with technology skills can do. In my experience it begins this way, but much of what clients get out of their relationship with me is experience and wisdom.” I liked his services so much, I’m pretty sure I’ll be asking for his help for my next book, too, even though I now have experience with Amazon, Kindle, etc. He answers all your questions, sets up the accounts, guides you through the whole process and gets your book online, up for sale, properly published.
One cool thing he did for me, was to put my book in Pronoun.com. They’re really great. Excellent interface and they’ll take care of you ebook distribution brilliantly. I highly recommend them.
Time it took: 4 weeks.
I’m so grateful for the help of these people! They were great! But I must also mention my brilliant wife, Charana Renu, who helped me shape the book and did a first round of editing. She gave me great advice every step of the way.
So, that’s it for now. In my next post on book publishing I’ll write about book marketing, where, unfortunately, I was not so lucky. Click here to read it.