This short article will not try to explain every aspect of book publishing in detail, but it will brush on a few of the important topics. The most difficult part of creating your manuscript is deciding on the topic.
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From Idea to Published Book ... How to Self-Publish the Easy Way!

I've been involved in publishing for over a decade now as an author, editor, and project manager; however, it wasn't until just a few years ago that I decided to move into self-publishing. Indeed, my first few projects involved consulting for others and, now, I am involved in my own, personal projects. It has taken a while for me to come back around to my own works, but in the process I learned how to minimize time and expenses in producing a book and getting it to market.

This short article will not try to explain every aspect of book publishing in detail, but it will brush on a few of the important topics. I have a few other book projects in the making that will detail the book self-publishing process; however, in the mean time, this should give you a good basis of understanding.

The Idea

The most difficult part of creating your manuscript is deciding on the topic. We all have ideas. It's part of our being. Ideas pop in and out of our heads all day long; however, we usually dismiss many of them as useless or too simple to be of use. You would be surprised at how many people want "simple" and easy-to-understand information! Readers want books that teach, inform, and entertain.

When you sit down and really think about all you've learned throughout your life, you'll be amazed at how much you really know! Your life experiences alone could fill a library! Even if you feel that you don't have any knowledge that would be of interest to anyone, you can start small.

Research a market that interests you, find your competition, learn all that you can about a specific subject, and then write about it. Your ideas are important, as your knowledge and point-of-view are unique and of interest to others.

Planning the Product

I always suggest keeping your book concise and informative. This provides a small footprint, yet it also allows your readers to purchase your book at a reasonable price. Keep it around 100 pages, which, once in book format, equals about 50, two-sided pages.

The core content of the manuscript consists of a title page, copyright, table of contents, figure and table references, acknowledgements, forwards, content, appendices, index, and back page. This list is the basic minimum requirements to support the information necessary to present your book and its content. Of course, you can add other items such as a glossary and a preface, but such inclusions are at your discretion.

It is best to produce your book in the standard 5.5" by 8.5" format in both print and PDF. I always suggest PDF to my publishing clients because it is one of the few cross-platform (i.e., Mac, PC, PDA, and UNIX-based machines) document distribution products available today and it is the most popular.

The Manuscript

Once you've focused on an idea, you'll have to create an outline or table of contents to define the content. The best way I've found to do this is to break the idea down into blocks of contiguous information --- similar to assembling a pyramid. Step through your idea and ensure that you are building from, for example, the most general information to the most specific information. Check the outline several times, and have a friend review it, to ensure that gaps are filled in appropriately.

You can actually over-rewrite your work to the point of frustration and burn-out. Ensure that you've planned and researched appropriately to provide a solid foundation. In this way you can develop a first draft and then perform substantive and grammar edits. Then, perform a technical edit and a second draft.

Once the second draft is complete, move into a final copy edit then, once you produce galleys or a sample version of the finished book, perform a proof read. Don't rework any of the core steps of document development, but ensure that each step is completed with quality in mind. This ensures a solid product in a short amount of time. If you would like to update or add to the information in your first release, provide a follow-up revision.

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