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Pre-Publishing Checklist

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!



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.

Formatting Software


Cover Design

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!

Pre-Publishing Resources

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. 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.

9 thoughts on “Pre-Publishing Checklist”

  1. I have completed my book of poetry. It is 94 pages which includes the preface, the introduction and a table of contents. I have created my own ( black and white) front and back cover. I am NOT tech savvy (uploading? downloading?). I just need a company that will take my manuscript to the next level and produce an actual book. If I could get One copy of my manuscript into book form it would give me the confidence to move forward with marketing my book. As for now, I feel like I’m stuck.

    1. Hi Dorkas,

      Since Lulu is 100% free to use, the platform is also DIY. You can find a ton of free resources to help you design your files on our site. Or you can check out our Hire A Pro section to find professionals to help you design your files.

  2. Jackson T. Trout

    Dear Paul,

    I wrote and sent a comment a few days ago, but it appears that it not make it through.

    The comment was me requesting that Lulu contact me through my other email address because I believe that my original email address is blocking emails from Lulu for some reason.

    Did you receive that comment?


    1. Hi Jackson,

      Your post most likely got flagged by our filters if you included an email address. If you included the correct email in your support case, we should be able to connect with you!

  3. Is Lulu going to re-establish telephone support? My issues cannot be solved using FAQ or submitting tickets.

    1. Hi Todd,
      I can’t say when as I don’t work in the support team, but I know the intention is to bring back phone support.

  4. In trying to make covers for my printed book, I can’t find the “Lulu Cover Wizard” option that I had used in the past with its many options. Is it no longer available?

    1. Hi Bruce,
      The cover tool we offered previously is no longer available. That old tool used Flash, which is longer supported. We’re developing a replacement with all the options of the old tool (and none of the glitches). That should be available very soon.

  5. Please let me know the progress of the publish reached for my Masters degree Thesis
    Regards Robert

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