Yesterday I was trying to get organized with my blogs and writing because I was headed out of town.
With the drop of one little click I pushed the wrong button and ended up publishing a post that wasn’t anywhere near ready.
Omg. It was messy. There were no graphics. It wasn’t edited properly.
I scrambled to find the “unpublish” button and finally was able to bring the whole thing back into draft. Now that being said, I’m sure those who subscribe via email got the mess in their inbox.
😧 My apologies!
In the meantime, my error made me think of those who pull the trigger too quickly on publishing a manuscript.
We’ve all seen the indy books that lack editing, formatting, or proofreading.
It makes me sad really because I’m sure the author published their book with the greatest of expectation and excitement. Some of the books I’ve been able to finish are well thought out and have some really strong elements, but the typos and lack of editing can make them very difficult to read.
For a Manuscript You Will Need Help Putting It Together.
After you do a rewrite of your first draft, send it to beta readers along with specific questions you want answered about the plot, the character, timeline, and the book as a whole.
You don’t want to jump all the way to publishing and have huge plot holes.
Here’s an example: you may have it set in 2020 and yet you still have students passing notes (that’s an older person’s memory and not reality for kids in 2020); or you mention seeing the Empire State Building but the narrative has the character in Boston at the time; another may be missing facts and scenes that don’t fit the story line.
Have you ever read a book and thought–wait, how did the character get to this place? or something is missing or wrong because it doesn’t make any sense?
You don’t want that for your book.
Let’s face it, one of the most frustrating things for a reader is to have to go back and reread or hunt through the narrative looking for something they missed (or didn’t miss because it’s not there).
So get the beta readers.
You’ll want a few people so you can have different points of view.
Ask specific questions HERE are some ideas.
Then compile the info and make your decisions on what to change or keep in the next rewrite.
What Does it Mean to Edit?
Here’s the thing. We all know how expensive it is for a professional edit, but that is still no excuse for throwing your book baby to the masses without proper preparation.
There are four steps to doing your own editing. You can read them HERE.
Here’s the gist:
1. set your completed manuscript aside for a couple of months and then read it without doing any edits.
2. print off your entire manuscript and start the mark-up on paper
3. go in make the changes
4. read your entire manuscript out loud.
There are specific directions at the link so make sure you check it out.
More on Editing
Okay So You’ve Edited–Now What?
If you’ve got your manuscript as clean as you can do, now have another set of eyes look at it.
Ask them to look for, and note, any inconsistencies (ie: character has blue eyes on page 10 and on page 143 his eyes are now brown…oops), spelling errors etc.
This makes for a much more professional product.
Do Your Research on Formatting
Another thing that ends up being forgotten in the frenzy of a fast publish is the formatting of the manuscript.
Have you read a print book that has page breaks all over the place? or the chapters aren’t flush to the left margin?
This may seem like gibberish or perfectionist to some, but it’s about being professional and presenting a superior product–especially when you’re asking people to pay for it.
There are industry standards and even if you’re going to self pub you should try to clean up your manuscript as much as possible.
Do your homework, but here are a few things you can do:
- 12 font Times New Roman
- double space
- only one space after period
- do not use tab or space bar to indent. Set margins
- margins should be left justified.
Go do your homework.
Take a Deep Breath Before Pushing the Button
Believe me when I say, not everyone can write a book.
Many say they’re going to, or want to, but it’s a huge undertaking and if you achieved that, be proud.
You’ve worked hard and your book deserves the best future. By stepping back and taking your time, you can put out your best product for where you are in that moment.
Once you’ve made the decision to go forward then take that deep breath. Know you’ve done all you can, and go for it.
What About Marketing and Sales?
This is another huge topic that we need to discuss. The thing is, you need to find your audience for your book and start engaging with them sooner, rather than later.
Marketing, building your community, and branding your product and self, need to happen at the beginning. If you hit the publish button before any of this however, don’t panic, you just need to start hustling.
We’ll talk about all of these things in the coming weeks.
So, What is Your Story? Did you Publish Too Quickly?
I’d love to hear your story. Did you take the time to edit? format? market? prior to hitting the publish button?
Did you “unpublish”?
Tell me your story.
Thanks for stopping by and reading this post. It really is appreciated.
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Graphics Source: Unsplash.
First photo: Green Chameleon
Edit photo: hannah grace
Passion photo: Ian Schneider
2 thoughts on “Five Things to do Before You Hit the Publish Button.”
Excellent advice as always – I like your examples about missing obvious things from a particular time period.
Thank you so much for the kind words. Yes. Sometimes we forget what decade we’re in. It’s really important to have these things caught. The tech changes came fast and furious. 😊