What’s in a Book?
Writing a book is a lot more than writing. A lot of various processes go into producing a book before you get to read it. And that is after months of plotting, writing and rewriting before a finished story lies before the writer.
Editing is the unavoidable next step when the story has been finished. This is where someone else goes over the entire text fixing errors, correcting awkward sentences, suggesting improved expressions and delivering a polished manuscript back to the author. This process may take a number of back and forward editing, reading, agreeing, disagreeing until the author is satisfied with the result. Note I said "until the author is satisfied" not the editor. Of course the editor will do their best but the end result is the author's and he or she must be satisfied with the end result.
While all of the editing is going on the cover artist can get to work. I have seen many indie authors attempt this themselves and to be honest the results are often disastrous. I prefer to focus on writing and leave the graphics to the professionals. The person who has created my cover designs and internal illustrations is Paulien Bats and I like the way she works. As a writer I draw from inspiration. When Paulien gets hold of one my stories she allows inspiration to suggest the images and colours and the results are always stunning, subtle and suggestive of the content.
I already mentioned illustrations. Not every novel needs them but as I have started writing for children I thought a few illustrations could make the story more interesting. I am not producing a picture book or graphic novel but the illustrations will require as much inspiration as the cover needs.
We are not done yet. When the text and any illustrations have been completed they need to be put together. This job is called interior layout. Each page must look right. Letter spacing, font, size and line spacing all need to be taken into consideration. The reading experience must be an enjoyable one and the reader doesn't need any distractions coming from poor layout or unnecessary spaces.
As an indie (independent) author a choice needs to be made regarding the ISDN numbers. These are unique numbers given to every book published, and to each format of the same book, and they are used to easily identify a book and where it comes from. Previously I used Amazon's free ISDN numbers. This however does not show me as the publisher, but Amazon. Now if I want to take my independence a step further then I need to find a different way to publish and own my own ISDN numbers. These numbers are mine and registered in my name or the name of my publishing house or press. As you can see I have taken this step with Dream meadow Press.
So now that I have all the elements in place for a finished book it still needs to be published and printed. Fortunately there are several companies which provide these services for indie authors either free or for a small fee. In the beginning days of Amazon, before print on demand was popular, an author who didn't want to use a traditional publisher had to make his own arrangements to get a number of books printed and send them to Amazon all at his own expense. Print on Demand removes that risk and once the files of the completed book have been uploaded the publisher's services take the orders and dispatch printed books to order.
Which brings us to the distributors. These are the guys who get the books on bookshelves. Now with all of this service being provided you can imagine how little of the sale price is left for the author. The same is true for traditional publishing except that some may pay an advance to the author based on anticipated sales. However, distribution also includes online book stores, like Amazon and Barnes and Noble and many others.
What is left for the author to be concerned about is the marketing. Getting the word out about the newly published - or soon to be published - book is crucial for any sales to take place. The story is written, the finished product is ready for the market, now we need to tell potential readers that the book is here and ready to be read. Indie authors tend to take on this role themselves, namely because advertising can be expensive and without a big budget hiring someone to do it is just out of the question.
The rest of the process is up to you, the reader. If you see the book, then marketing efforts have been successful in getting it in front of your eyes. If you buy the book then the marketing has been successful and reached its goal.
The next step is the actual reading of the new book. Getting past the first few pages is crucial. If the writer has written a well thought out story and reached the interested reader then most likely the reader will continue reading till the end. And if the reader has enjoyed the book they will hopefully leave a positive review on the many online platforms, like Amazon or Goodreads.
Reviews are great in motivating other readers to pick up the book and read it for themselves. However the author is motivated by personal feedback. If the author has a website then it is easy to send them some comments about why you liked their book. You can even suggest what you would like to see in future books.
A passionate author will not wait for your feedback but will, like me, already begin working on the next book. I love writing and I love it when the story flows. The more I write the more it flows. And I hope there are some who enjoy my writing. If your are one then do let me know.