Self-publishers, those that write books, non-fiction and fictional, need the support of a few people to make the end product a great work. Writers are the creators. The support people are the ones that can take that creation and make it readable, beautiful and correct grammatically.
Here I am going to talk about the four main support people every writer should use before publishing the work into printed or electronic form.
A writer has what is commonly called a manuscript. It is the body and heart of the work that will become the printed book. This manuscript should be reviewed by someone who is not emotionally connected to the work and can offer advice as to flow, continuity, and meaningful transitions. This is the editor. This person will offer ideas for changing the work in some cases to a large degree. Depending on the writer, this could be painful or engaging. A writer who believes they have written a perfect work may become despondent when the changes are suggested.
Another step in the process involves checking the work for grammatical, spelling and word usage errors. This person cannot be disconnected from the writer. I recently did this for a client whose work contained a large number of phrases that were intentionally spelled phonetically and then others that word usage caused the grammar checker to scream. The connection to the writer is inherent to making the choices for grammar and spelling changes. This person is the copyeditor.
Once these two processes are finished, a book formatter is needed to turn the work into the finished product. The book formatter must also be connected to the writer to get a feel for how the chapters and the book pages will look. There are some standards for every book. Those should not be changed. But, the chapter names, or not, the page numbering, or not, the headers and the footers all contribute to the reader experience. A reader, if they are experienced, will notice imperfections in these areas and for them, it will make the book appear unprofessional. They may still read it, but their critique could include the non-professional comments and detract from future audiences. Chapter names are subjective, but, need to be consistent. Headers and how they are placed are easily mix formatted and stand out to any reader. Page numbering is not used in electronic books such as Kindle, but in print, they are usually there.
When I formatted The Cat Laughed, I found myself deep into the story and the sensory imagery of the work. This was important to the formatting.
The cover designer can make or break how your book looks to the book buyers and to the readers hunting for something new to read. The cover designer is not responsible for typos and spelling errors on your back cover. Double check that writing and have one of your support people check it too. The cover designer creates the draw for your book. The design should match the audience you are trying to reach. It should be different enough to draw attention and not so different that it creates a small audience appeal. Chose your cover designer wisely. The cover of the book shown at the top of this blog was designed by mooxworxs.com.
So, four people. Choose wisely. Stay connected with them to produce the work you had in mind when you first produced the manuscript.