Being an author is hard work these days, there are so many books already on the market and more arriving faster than the speed of sound. Its no wonder a new author might feel rather overawed by the whole process. You not only have to create the story and write a a course in miracles book , you feel it has to be better than the one you’ve just read. This is something even time-seasoned authors strive to achieve. It can be done – with a little expert advice, the assistance of a good editor, and an understanding publisher.
‘Where do I find one of those?’ you shout out loud in frustration. They are around, although finding them can be a time consuming process.
Having your manuscript appraised is the first step to becoming a published author. The appraisal will tell you whether your story is worth publishing and a few sample chapters will tell an editor what type of editing will be necessary to bring your book to publishing standard; it might be a little copy editing or a combination of copy and structural editing.
If you conduct a little research, you will find that all well-known authors have their book edited. No author can write a book and expect it to be perfect, and they are just emotionally too close to their work to have the objective point of view.
What exactly happens with an appraisal? How do I know they will be honest with me? What can I expect back in the way of a report? How will this get me nearer to being published?
All these questions will run through the mind of a new author. I’ll take them one by one…
A free appraisal means sending three or four chapters of your manuscript to an editor, who will read it objectively and create a short report. This might include any inconsistencies in the writing, comments about the storyline, suggestions as to layout and chapter titles, and a quick assessment of what editing might have to be done.
As it is only an appraisal, do not expect a full, long report on the storyline, characters, flow, structure, etc. That is the job of an Assessment. An appraisal is to let the author know if the book is publishable. Its the starting point of becoming a published author.
If an editor is honest about the story, the editing requirements, and your chances of getting the book published, then they are doing their job diligently. It’s in their own best interests to be upfront at the outset or it could affect their own circumstances.
When you have your appraisal, its time to think about having your manuscript edited. These days a publisher will only look at your book if it has been professionally edited. Those people who think they do not need their work edited are only hurting themselves, and their book. Editing is necessary for the objective amendments that might have to be made. An editor is not emotionally involved and therefore can be quite tough about that to keep and what to remove. It’s in the author’s best interests to listen to what their editor says, and although the author can overrule the editor its not often the case. Even if you have decided to ‘self publish’ (and by that I mean do it all yourself and not through any publisher whatsoever), the manuscript still needs editing. Who wants to buy a book (or obtain one for free) where there are spelling mistakes, sentences that do not gel, or bits of the story that seem to just disappear into the page…
When all of the above is done, then its time to think about how you are going to publish. What method are you going to use? Self publish, traditional publisher or the new POD and eBook publisher? Here one has to work out how long it might take, how much distribution will the book receive, and how cost effective will the different processes be. Its not necessarily the cheapest that wins the day.