Are You Ready To Publish? Here’s How You Know

By on May 17, 2016
Are You Ready To Publish? Here’s How You Know - Writer's Life

If you have finally finished your novel, no doubt you will be now considering sending it off to agents and publishers, or thinking about starting the process of self-publishing your work. This is naturally one of the most nerve-racking times for any author.

It can be hard not to worry that the book might be a flop, that you’ll get rejected over and over again, or that, by letting it out into the big bad world that you’ll be subject to criticism and ridicule that simply wouldn’t happen if you keep your work just for you.

So what do you do? You convince yourself that your manuscript just needs a ‘little more work’ and continue to read and re-read it over and over again changing the odd word and sentence which, if you are being honest with yourself, doesn’t make any difference to the story. But you can't do this forever.

If you aren’t sure whether your book is ready to publish and worry that you might be missing something, use these 8 tips to make sure you are good to go:

Look out for chronological inconsistencies

No matter how well you think you know your story, it is easy to make chronological mistakes. Why not go through your book and write down any references to times and dates, and then look at them all together to make sure they make sense?

Check your character names

Your would think you would definitely know your characters names right? Well of course you do, but when writing something as in-depth as a novel it is easy to make mistakes. Do a Find & Replace to ensure your characters names are all spelt correctly - this is also extremely handy if you have decided to change your character’s name halfway through.

You should also make sure that you haven’t got muddled anywhere, for example, when two or more characters are having a conversation - it is easy to refer to them incorrectly and is something your readers are bound to pick up on, so make sure this is all correct.

Get a second opinion

OK so it might be too late, and unhelpful to have someone tell you what they think of your work in terms of its overall merit. But if you give you book to someone else to read they will be able to spot mistakes in the text that you haven’t seen.

Try to pick someone who has excellent spelling and grammar though! Or, if you are self-publishing, it is a good idea to send your book to a professional editor who will be able to ensure it goes to print error-free.

Format it correctly

Make sure you have page breaks between chapters and don’t go crazy with your font choice! Some publishers may tell you what font they would like the manuscript to be delivered to them in - if so make sure you follow it. But if not stick to a basic, clear font such as Courier or Times New Roman.

Think about your reader and know your market

Hopefully by this point you have done some research into your target audience. If you have a clear idea of who they are in your head, now is the time to talk to them. Ask them what they want from a book - this will influence the way you decide to publish and market your novel and can ale a huge difference to how well your book does. Also clearly understand where your book sits in the current market and use this information to help you create a marketing plan.

Write down your goal

Why are you publishing your book? Is it to simply see it in print, do you want to make some money, do you want to become famous? Whatever your aim is, write it down and think about how you are going to get there.

Write a pitch, and practise it out loud

You should be able to clearly, succinctly and persuasively explain not only what your book it about, but who it is aimed at, and why they would want to read it. Practice your pitch with friends and family, and have them ask you unexpected questions.

It is important to be confident about your book, and believe in it. It is also great practice if you come to do any interviews about your work further down the line!

Get ready for some long days

Publishing your novel is only the beginning, afterwards is when the hard work really starts! Be prepared to put in the hours, come up with a marketing plan, and constantly push your book in every way you can. It is only through some serious effort that you’ll see your readership grow and your sales increase.

If you have done all of the above then congratulations, it’s time to publish. Good luck!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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