9 Critical Steps to Successful Self-Publishing: Critical Step #1

Critical Step 1: Get Your Book Professionally Edited and Designed

If you take only one message from this book about what to do when you finish writing your book, it should be this:

                                                         STOP!!!

It is understandable that, after you’ve invested a lot of time, your heart, and sometimes significant funds (if nothing else, in opportunity costs) in writing your book that you will want to release it and begin reaping the psychic and financial rewards. Your friends have been “dying” to read it; surely the reading public feels the same way.

Just because you’ve finished writing your book doesn’t mean you’re ready to sell it.

Ah, if only it were that simple. Even if the world needs to read your book, you must put forth significant effort to let people know about its existence. And not just once. Studies have shown that people need to see or hear a message multiple times before making a purchase. 7

Consider, also, that you’re competing against many other reading options, and not necessarily only in your genre (so writing the “definitive” book on the 1919 influenza epidemic does not ensure that all medical professionals will want to read it).

I urge you to STOP before going through the steps to promote your book because we need to take a big step back. The very first thing you need to do is make sure that your book is “ready for prime time.”

You’re a writer; you are not an editor or proofreader (even if you are). Even if you are an editor or proofreader who has written a book, you cannot edit or proofread your own book. Do you you really need someone else to read your book to look for errors? Yes; even I had to be convinced of this fact.

When you read your own book, you anticipate what you’re reading and don’t notice the errors (for example, did you notice the second “you” in the previous sentence?). This requires the services of a copyeditor.

It is also hard for the author who knows his or her story well to evaluate if the book has any logical gaps or is missing key information that will keep the reading public from understanding or fully appreciating your work. That’s why you need an objective set of eyes on your book. While it’s helpful to have friends (who will be honest with you) read your book, you still require the services of a developmental editor to evaluate the book, as a whole, and a proofreader to catch any errors. (I include a list of approximate costs for each of these services in How Much Does it Cost to Self-Publish a Book?)

The expense of having your book edited, proofread and designed by professionals is well worth the cost.

To find a qualified editor or proofreader, see 9 Critical Steps to Successful Self-Publishing: Get it Right the First Time

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