Here are 4 steps that are ideal to complete before submitting your manuscript to an editor or publisher for consideration, followed by some guidelines to discern whether hiring a writing coach could prove helpful as well:
- 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 appropriate timing (so a section or chapter doesn’t have to be edited twice, for example).
- 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.
- 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 proof-read; 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.
- 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.
When is hiring a writing coach helpful?
- You have an idea or concept for a book that is not committed to paper or computer yet, and would value having some creative direction.
- You find yourself writing and rewriting and need some guidance on how best to organize your thoughts and your work more efficiently.
- Or you’re almost there and you simply need a sounding board for some final touches.
- Keep in mind when you are writing about personal experiences, especially challenging or difficult ones that you might still be processing or healing from, it will affect your writing. This is not a bad thing; in fact writing/journaling is often very cathartic for us. It is just good to have this awareness, so you don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. With the latter, you also might find a life coach or therapist helpful to consult.
Having someone to guide you through the production, publishing and marketing process is also very useful of course—as there are very specific things to take into consideration, including your budget, your goals and definitely the genre of your book and potential audience.
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