Although there are exceptions, here are 5 steps that are ideal to complete before submitting your manuscript to an editor or publisher for consideration. Prior to this, you could be working with an editor and/or writing coach to flesh out your work as discussed in my last blog post.
1. Ensure that you have completed writing your manuscript to the best of your ability. Creating it in Word is preferred, although checking each editor’s/publisher’s detailed submission requirements is always best. Occasional changes after submission are very understandable; however, significant edits and/or rewrites to a manuscript (especially if the project has been accepted and started on) can contribute to increased editing and/or typesetting costs, not to mention the potential for possible errors if too many extra changes/corrections are needed (even more so if late in the process). Be sure to work closely with your editor or publisher to fully understand their process and timelines. This way, if you do have changes beyond the agreed upon recommendations by your editor, then you can provide them in suitable timing (so a section or chapter doesn’t have to be edited twice, for example).
2. Have a Table of Contents mapped out (corresponding page numbers are not necessary at this point, although fine—they will just change once typeset into an actual book design format). The value here is that this outline provides a thorough, yet quick overview of your book, and should be very useful creatively for you as well.
3. A preface or introduction, foreword, and testimonials ought to be top of mind too (a dedication, prologue, or epilogue can also be included where appropriate). These pieces can be completed in the earlier stages while the main manuscript is being reviewed, edited and proofread; however, in a way, they’re also part of the overall story/teaching and intention of the book. So the sooner your editor/publisher has a sense of this content too, they will be able to serve you even better.
4. Other critical steps, should they apply, include a properly compiled list of references and previously obtained permissions for quotes in your book. Although these steps can be easily handled for you as well, it is important to know that it is the author’s responsibility—so be sure to make it a priority and get expert assistance if that’s the route you prefer.
5. In preparation for the initial conversation with your publisher, editor, or coach, give thought to how you would answer the following questions:
a) Who is your target market?
b) How will your book help and/or entertain people?
c) What would you like to achieve by writing/publishing your book?
d) What will be the benefits to your audience and yourself when you accomplish this?
For additional questions and tips of this nature and much more, you might want to check out my book called Do You Have a Book In You? – Straight Talk to Take You From Concept to Reality. It is currently available in e-book (PDF), and the audio version will be in the bookstore within the week!
If you’d like a copy of our Author Checklist, feel free to email us directly at email@example.com; or click on the Partner Publishing Services page here on our website and go to the Helpful Info and Tools tab, and you’ll find it there too.
At I C Publishing, once we’ve determined that a book’s content is within our wheelhouse of expertise and resonates with our mandate; one of the very first steps we recommend is a manuscript evaluation to assess the strengths of the manuscript. It allows us an opportunity to support the author with a meaningful and encouraging critique, and provides a good foundation for what the project will need from an editing standpoint. Our manuscript reviews are offered as a standalone service, as well as part of our full publishing package. With the latter, a part credit is often put towards the editing fee.
We believe that asking questions helps us all make better decisions, so we invite you to reach out to us if there is anything we can assist you with.
Great writing takes time, as does quality publishing; and both are so worth it!
I C Publishing – Committed to Quality Content, Design, & Platform