How does a book become a book? – part two

If you missed part one or need a recap, it’s here.

#3 – Editing your manuscript

Don’t panic, but this can take many rounds. Editing a book is difficult, and sometimes minds will disagree. You’re about to dig deep into your work.

How is your dialogue? Believable? Does your character’s motivations seem valid, true to character? How is your plot? Any plot holes? Is your voice consistent throughout? Does the momentum of the piece continue to build? Is there a good arc? Is there anything that could distract the reader from the story?

This step can seem longer than what you’d want. It’s never easy. But it’s something that brings your work to the next level and pushes you to be the best writer you can be.

If you’re self-publishing, you may ask what kind of editor you need. I’d shoot for at least a copy editor and a proofreader if you can. Copy editing really takes your story to the next level. Proofreading helps to make sure there aren’t any obvious mistakes throughout. 

If you’re working with a publisher, a copy editor and proofreader will be there for you.

#4 – DESIGNING the outside cover and ARCs

Designing book covers is the part where you can have little or a lot of say in the process. Sometimes, especially if you have a deal with the Big 5, you don’t have too much say. However, smaller presses do take your ideas into consideration more.

For this step, the publishing house is designing book covers, starting to get endorsements for the back cover, and more. It’s all about the look of your book. To get those endorsements, they send out advanced reader copies (known as ARCs) to notable people in your field or to other writers. This usually happens about six months in advance of publication. As soon as major (but not all) edits are done, the publisher will send out ARCs to get the book reviews back in time to put them on the back cover. 

Of course, if you’re self-publishing, this is all on you. I personally would hire a designer to do your book cover, because your book will look more professional that way. You’re a writer, not a designer. For ARCs, start with building a list of notable people in your field who you’d like to review your book. After that, select other writers in your genre with similar books.


Hopefully this helps! My next post will be part three! Follow along to learn more about the process.

9 thoughts on “How does a book become a book? – part two

  1. I totally agree with you, Robin, on the importance of a professional cover. A homemade cover that looks homemade discourages me from purchasing a book. It makes me think, fair or not, that the author skimped on other important aspects of publishing (like editing, perhaps). Excellent set of posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this post! It is amazing how much work goes into creating the copies of precious words we hold today. I think back to people during the Civil War and imagine how much they treasured the few books they set on their shelves. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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