There are basically 7 stages to publishing your book, not counting overall management of the process and specialists involved to help you present a professional book publication.
1) Set up and manage your Publisher Record.
In Canada this is done through Library and Archives Canada (LAC).
You set up an ISBN Publisher Record by completing a form here: https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/services/isbn-canada/Pages/create-account-isbn-canada.aspx
Information entered in this section becomes the official public publisher record and publisher name and contact information will be displayed in in both the Canadian ISBN Publishers’ Directory and the Global Register of Publishers database (GRP). The directory and GRP are both publicly available.
LAC will set up your account and send you login information. Then, you can log in and you will be able to generate an ISBN for your book.
Each format of your book (e.g., hard cover, paperback, eBook, audiobook, 2nd Edition) requires a separate ISBN.
When you book is finished and you have produced it in some fashion (officially published it; made it available for sale), you will complete the Legal Deposit: https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/services/legal-deposit/Pages/legal-deposit.aspx
2) Have editing completed by an expert.
Completing a manuscript is an amazing accomplishment! One of the keys to turning this into a professionally completed book is the editorial process.
There are many types of editing; however, we’ll look at an overview of the top three, plus proofreading:
- Substantive/Structural Editing: Clarifying or organizing manuscript for content structure.
- Stylistic Editing: Clarifying meaning, eliminating jargon, polishing language, and other non-mechanical aspects.
- Copy Editing: Editing for grammar, usage, spelling, punctuation, and other mechanics of style, consistency, heading levels, lists, approximate placement of such as charts, tables, and artwork.
- Proofreading: Checking proofs of formatted, edited material for minor, mechanical errors in copy. (This usually happens after layout stage, just before production, to ensure nothing went missing or got changed during layout and in case there are any last minutes changes that should be reviewed. Printed copy is best, as notes for author’s review can be made on the hard copy. Plus, people tend to see things in print that they don’t catch on screen. Also try reading it out loud.)
This article provides links to other types or editing and articles on the importance of professional editorial process: https://trimatrixconsulting.ca/stages-of-editing-more-than-4/
3) Ensure illustrations are created imaginatively, and properly in style and output files.
This stage is not applicable to all books. However it is particularly important for children’s books to have a skilled illustrator create original images that don’t just tell or support your story but that take your story off the page and into a child’s imagination. Working with an expert might actually provide different ideas and/or more flair for your story and have you changing the content, so work on final edit in conjunction with illustration stage.
More on children’s books here: https://trimatrixconsulting.ca/creating-your-best-childrens-book/ and in the ‘Children’s Books’ category on our website.
4) Think of layout/formatting as interior design for your book or staging a home for sale.
Not only the words and the way you write, but also the look of the book pages can affect how people will perceive and read the book so it is very important to get your book layout completed by a professional designer/formatter.
a) Work with a professional designer to create artwork for your book cover.
Readers do judge a book by the cover. Design is very important and it’s critical to see choices, and proofs at each stage, before final book production. If you can, get feedback from your audience. Plus, other things are important too. Most books (and other products) are purchased online. Think about how fast you click by a listing online – two seconds, is the cover interesting? Professional book covers have an engaging design, unique artwork – maybe even originally created just for your book).
For back cover blurbs it’s key to grab readers attention with the first sentence (depending how long it is, that’s all readers might see in online listings). See stage below regarding marketing for more tips.
b) Have an expert layout your book text.
Book covers attract potential readers but when they flip the book open they want to see text that is clear and easy to read and layout that shows them a little something about the book. Your editor with have helped you ensure your content has been vetted for good readability in your content (structure, flow, etc. per editing types). Book layout takes into consideration such as white space, font style and size, headings, etc., which also help with readability.
Once the book is laid out, make sure you see a proof. Printed copy is best, so if you receive and electronic copy, we suggest you print it. (People tend to see things in print that they don’t catch on screen, and the printed copy gives you a better sense of the overall book page look and feel.)
After any changes are made, make sure you see another proof before the books are produced; this could be your Production Proof.
5) Work with your Production Manager to understand book production/output.
Books can be printed as hard cover (case binding with dust jacket or case binding image over board), soft cover (paperback) or converted to eBook (reflowable EPUB or fixed layout). Each separate format requires its own ISBN and has different specifications and costs associated with it. Discuss options with your production manager and, if possible, see a printed proof that shows stocks and final output and/or an electronic copy.
6) Plan your method of distribution.
Nowadays, many self-publishing authors decide on Print-On-Demand (POD), which alleviates need to print and pay upfront for a supply of books (helps with funding and eliminates need for storage). It also supports ease of distribution. The downside is that there are not as many types and/or top end stocks available. As well, production is automated and completed in various locations near points of distribution, so occasionally there are inconsistencies in production, and generally discounts for running more books are not as much.
There are a number of POD suppliers; perhaps the most well-known are KDP/Amazon and IngramSpark. Many authors find IngramSpark interface easier to use and it also offers distribution to libraries. Authors need to create an account.
More information here:
Other authors create their own website (best to have a designer create this but good if you are tech-savvy enough to manage it yourself). They sell their books via the site and package and ship themselves. Printing a larger supply at once locally sometimes saves on cost per book, depending on quantity, and may offer more choice in paper stock. The downside is the outlay of cash and more space to store and work to manage shipping. Plus, your book title is not as widely available for purchase. (If you need a supply for local events, etc. you can order a supply from POD. And, if you want a website, you can link to POD sales points and still have them handle distribution.
7) Plan and implement your book marketing strategy.
Marketing your book is a job on its own. Even authors picked up by traditional publishers are charged with marketing via appearances, outreach, social media, their own website, advertising, etc.
Here are some articles to get you started thinking about marketing:
There are many other articles and resources on this blog. Check the categories to the right or use the search function to find more information.
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