If you have just embarked on your journey as an author, there will be several questions in your mind.
Whether you should hire a professional editor or not?
How to design your book cover?
How to format your book?…..
Here are some tools and techniques to resolve common doubts of authors:
- Copyright and Plagiarized Content
This is mainly for non-fiction writers who use data available on the internet for their books. These could be quotes, scientific/other information relevant to the theme of the book.
Remember whenever you use data that is already published, mention the source of the information. You can add bibliography in your book where you mention the source of the Information. It is vital that you cite the source of Information otherwise the content in your book may be considered plagiarized and could face copyright issues.
It is recommended that you use a “plagiarism checking tool to ensure that your content is 100% unique and not copied/plagiarized. There are several free tools available on the internet for checking plagiarism.
- Checking Grammar
Grammarly is a useful tool to correct grammatical issues in your content. Even if you have good command over the language, it is recommended that you run your content for a check on Grammarly. This is because minor grammatical errors are quite common in lengthy narratives. And, a grammar check ensures that your content is grammatically accurate.
Grammarly is available as a free tool and can be accessed easily. It has a paid version Grammarly Premium also that helps in enhancing the overall quality of content.
- Try not to Repeat the Same Word More than Twice in a Paragraph
Articles like a/an/the and words like are/is, etc. will appear repeatedly. However, avoid using the same words over and over again in a paragraph. This enhances the quality of content. One of the most common examples of a word we tend to use repeatedly is “different.” Example: “Different people like different fruits.” It can be rephrased as “Each one of us likes a different fruit.”
The best way to avoid repetition is to look for synonyms for the word. Try to use synonyms to avoid repetition.
- Avoid Redundancy
Whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, make sure that you avoid repeating the same content in your book. This can make the narrative boring for your reader. Writers often tend to repeat the content when they run out of ideas or experience writers’ block. There is no harm in writing it if it gets the momentum back. However, make sure that you edit the content once you complete the first draft.
- Self Editing Vs Professional Editor
Grammarly takes care of many of your grammatical errors. However, you need to edit the content thoroughly before you publish the book. You need to read and re-read the content. This will help you improve the quality of content.
I would recommend self-editing and professional editing for your book to be perfect. While self-editing helps improve the context of the book, professional editing enhances the quality.
Here are some useful tips for editing your book:
- Run a grammar check using tools like Grammarly just after you complete the first draft.
- Leave your manuscript alone for a month after you complete it. Start editing after a month. This will give you a fresh perspective. You will be able to view the book differently and make changes in the content to enhance it.
- Try to look at the book from a reader’s point of view. Ask yourself why would anyone want to read it? What is there in the book for a reader? This will also help you enhance the quality of the book.
- Run grammar check again after altering the content.
- Read the content again thoroughly to ensure that you are satisfied with it on all accounts.
- When you are satisfied with the content, get it checked by a Beta Reader or a professional editor. Be very careful while choosing your editor because it can be quite risky to send the manuscript to an unknown individual as the person can “steal” your story.
Once your book is edited by a professional, it is ready for publishing.
For fiction writers, there are paid tools like AutoCrit that help in editing the book.
- Cover Design
Cover design can be a tough task for an author who does not know much about graphic designing. Tools like Canva are available to create book covers. If you find it too cumbersome, you can hire a professional graphic designer for the same. My personal preference is a professional because I have had difficulties in creating book covers on my own.
If you are self-publishing on Kindle or any other platform, these platforms suggest cover design layouts for designing the book cover. However, if you are adding an image to the cover, it has to meet certain criteria prescribed by the publishing platform.
If you are getting your book published by a publisher, book cover design is their responsibility in most cases.
- Fonts and Formatting
If you are getting your book published by a publisher, he will suggest the font and take care of the formatting. However, if you are self-publishing, platforms like Kindle offer templates with recommended fonts for publishing.
- How Many Formats?
Most authors, especially the self-published ones prefer to offer only the ebook version of their books. This is because it is easier to upload and format. However, I would recommend offering it in both ebook and paperback/hardcover versions. This is because I have seen that there is a bigger market for the physical version of books when compared with the digital version.
My personal recommendation is hardbound books for non-fiction because these are books that readers would like to keep for a long time. Of course, ebook formats are a must.
- Publisher Vs Self-publishing
You have the choice for either. A good publisher will offer you marketing services in addition to publishing. This can be very helpful. However, I have tried both and my personal choice is self-publishing because I feel things are more in my control.
Kindle offers an opportunity to edit the content, price, etc. post-publishing. It is free as well. Besides, it is a user-friendly tool with guidance at each step.
- Publisher Rocket
It is a paid tool but I highly recommend this tool for self-published authors because it helps authors in many ways.
- It helps identify the relevant keywords/ search words for the books.
- It helps select relevant categories for the books.
- It makes it easier to set up Amazon Ads.
- It saves a lot of time and effort.
All these help increase the visibility of the book.
These are some tools and techniques that help in getting the book ready for publishing.