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This is one of the most important steps in the writing process. This  is your final draft of the manuscript. During this step, the second or third pair of eyes become essential. If self-publishing, you want a squeaky clean manuscript, free of errors. Once finalized, it will not be corrected without costs. Note – some publishers will allow up to 25 to 50 free corrections before publishing. However, this doesn’t include publisher errors (e.g., printing). Please see the publisher’s guidelines for submission of your final draft.

Before you submit your manuscript to the publisher, you will select what type package you want (hardcover, softcover or both, e-book, etc). Hardcover includes the bound cover with dust jackets, whereas softcover is the paperback. E-books are available online to be downloaded. If you have written a book before and using the same publisher, ask about discounts. Some publishers will allow up to half off for a second book or additional books. The check-in coordinator will discuss with you about any questions you might have. In this stage, you will select what type genre, age range (audience) or package (condensed or dust jackets, also called flaps for hardcover).

Publishing multiple books in a five-year period, I find there are some helpful hints not necessarily known to the general public:

  1. Once the draft is finished, thoroughly review your draft before submission. This includes any typos, spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors. Remember, Spellcheck and other software programs will not catch 100% of the errors.
  2. I suggest having at least one reader read your final draft before submission. I found in my last book, out of 424 pages, I still had three errors when published. A second or third person can catch errors that the writer doesn’t catch.
  3. If self-editing, read through the manuscript yourself and correct errors. You may need to revise or even rewrite some parts that don’t flow well within the manuscript.
  4. If professionally editing, then allow up to two months to receive final draft back. There will be suggestions and/or corrections to make. Note – editing is not free nor cheap and is based on how many pages (or words) the manuscript contains.
  5. Once you make corrections and satisfied with the final draft, combine chapters into one document. Note – most publishers will not accept separate chapters. Rather, they want the total manuscript. Even if they do allow, I find it causes more confusion and more work to go back to correct.
  6. If self-publishing, the writer will be given one chance to look over the final draft from the publisher before approval. Once approved by you, the final draft is submitted for publication. Note – once you send the final approval, the manuscript goes into the publishing stage. No changes can be made afterwards, unless you are willing to pay for corrections.
  7. Most publishers prefer that the writer submit the manuscript by email. In some cases, it can be mailed or faxed, but that is difficult, especially with a lengthy manuscript. Please see the publisher’s guidelines for submission of your manuscript.
  8. It usually takes up to two or three weeks to publish. The writer will receive a free complimentary copy of the book. If you selected both hardcover and softcover, you will receive a copy of both. Please look over the book and make sure no publisher errors were made (misprints, blurring or spacing errors, etc). It is best to correct when the printing is fresh rather than go back later.
  9. The writer will be given a chance to order a maximum number of free copies once published; only shipping charges are applied. My publisher allows 5 hardcover and 10 softcover books. Publishers may vary in the number of free copies allowed; please check with your publisher for details.

Once your book is published, congratulations, you have now become a new author. Enjoy the accomplishment of a finished product. More importantly, enjoy the writing process. Writing was an adventure that started out as self-therapy for closure to painful events in my past. The first time I published, I was fearful, but over the years, I became more confident in my writing. Now, I love the writing process in publishing books for readers to enjoy.

Next week, I will discuss marketing strategies. Going into publishing five years ago, I was blind about marketing. I struggled as an unknown author. It is just as important to have a marketing strategy and a plan to advertise your book(s). Marketing is expensive and there are some ways to advertise your book(s) without costing an arm and a leg. I find social media and networking works some, but it takes more effort. The writer has to get out there to the public to be recognized.

Tune in to my blog weekly. If you are a new writer and/or author yourself or know someone who is, please refer them to my blog. In the meantime, Happy Memorial Day to all veterans and everyone.