Writing a book is hard work. I know just how challenging and time-consuming it is to outline, draft, revise, redraft, edit, proof, finalize, and produce a manuscript ready for publication. Today, I’d like to present my pre-publishing checklist for you. It’s just one piece of a massive library of resources the Lulu team creates and offers for free.
Okay, let’s get into organizing yourself so you can enjoy a stress free publishing experience!
Phase 1: Content & Design
This might seem kind of obvious, but I’ve found myself guilty of this; I’ll be most of the way through writing a manuscript, and I tinker with the formatting.
I’m looking forward to designing the book!
Do yourself a favor and avoid this. Writer first, design later.
You need to get that manuscript edited. Preferably by a professional. Choosing an editor who can help you realize your vision can make or break a book.
Don’t rush the editing process, it can take some time, but it is worth it!
With your manuscript done, it’s time to create the rest of the content that will be included in your book. This is the front and back matter, made up of your metadata.
Gather your information and get it all ready for formatting!
With your manuscript and metadata ready, now you need to format the file. There are a ton of options for doing your formatting. Whatever option you choose, you’ll need to export a PDF for printing.
The Ultimate Guide To InDesign For Authors
Using InDesign to layout and prepare your book file has long been a standard. But actually using the software can be challenging. Let’s learn more!
Affinity Publisher Review: An InDesign Alternative
Book makers review of Affinity Publisher from Serif, software challenging the old guard in functionality, ease of use, and features.
Scribus Free Desktop Publishing Review
Scribus is a free, open source desktop publishing program you can use to layout your book. Learn more about this tool and how it compares to InDesign.
Phase 2: Marketing & Publishing
File ready, you’ll have the final page count and will be ready to create a cover! I recommend using Lulu’s templates here; we customize them after you upload your interior with the spine sized for your book.
You can (and should) start marketing efforts even while you’re still writing. Because marketing for authors is an ongoing process. It’s a continuous process of promoting and networking.
Marketing is also very specific to the book you’re creating; so start early, have a goal in mind, and do the work. Otherwise, all the effort you put into your book will be for naught when no one can find it!
Yes, this is a pre-publishing checklist, but as you’re working on editing and preparing your book, you need to research your publishing options.
Obviously, I’m biased toward Lulu. But you’ve got a lot of options. From DIY platforms to paid, service based publishers, and even more traditional small publishers. Do your research. And don’t be afraid to ask other authors you know how they published!
Your most important resource is time. Writing and publishing takes a lot of time. From the crafting to the editing to the designing to the marketing…and those are just broad definitions of what you’ll be doing.
I could link you to hundreds of guides, articles, and videos explaining tips, tricks, and advice for publishing. In fact, here is that link. But none of that will help if you don’t have the time to dedicate to creating your book.
At the end of the day, the most important part of pre-publishing and publishing is going to be the time you invest.
Paul is the Content Marketing Manager at Lulu. When he's not entrenched in the publishing and print-on-demand world, he likes to hike the scenic North Carolina landscape, read, sample the fanciest micro-brewed beer, and collect fountain pens. Paul is a dog person but considers himself cat tolerant.