The editing process

Writing a book is only a small part of the publishing journey.

The elation of finally typing ‘The End’ soon passes when the editing process begins.

Over my career years, I have learned the true value of a good editor and eagle-eyed proof readers and I am fortunate enough to have been offered the services of two excellent craftsmen – both self-professed literary pedants, both excellent writers, and both called Bill.

Thanks to Bill and Bill, the manuscript I thought to be perfect was torn apart twice and stuck back together again minus the literals, the mistakes, the over-writing, the over-use of words like ‘that’ and ‘just’, inconsistencies and the sneaky random typos.

It is true to say that an author should never rely solely on his or her own eyes during the editing process and should always enlist the help of either a professional editor and/or a good proof reader who will approach the task objectively and is not afraid to tear the work to shreds.

Editing is only the beginning, however, and the real work starts during the uploading process to on-line publishing software.

With limited resources, the quickest and cheapest option to get a book printed in the 21st  century is by using a print on demand service. Fortunately, the days of having to pay up front for the privilege of small print runs are now well behind us thanks to the big publishing websites that offer these services for no initial outlay: they take their cut from sales.


Printing a book using Create Space’s POD service is bound to get easier with experience. The trick is to get the manuscript absolutely right before submitting it. This avoids having to upload it multiple times every time another error is found.

The process works as follows:

  • Sign up
  • Log in
  • Enter the details of the book: title, author, ISBN, language
  • Choose how you want the interior to look
  • Upload your book file
  • Create your cover
  • View your book
  • Submit it for review
  • Buy proofs
  • Submit amendments
  • Publish

I found it best to create the pdf first and then upload it, rather than upload, say, a Word file. That way, I can have complete control over how the interior of the book is going to look rather than rely on the software to interpret it during the conversion process. Formatted text in Word does not translate very well, especially if you haven’t embedded the fonts in the file you want to upload or there is heavy formatting throughout the document: this can lead to some strange errors in the text.

I would always choose cream paper over white for a black and white book with no pictures or illustrations as cream is kinder on the eye and looks more professional.

One wonderful aspect of Create Space is the ease with which it allows you to design a cover. Working out the thickness of the spine is a complex mathematical process, but Create Space does it all for you, so there’s no need to get the calculator out.

There are a number of good cover templates to choose from if you’re creatively challenged but, if you have cover artwork already, use the Palm template which allows almost complete control over the design.

Obviously, the book will be available in many digital formats, so it’s now off to KDP and Smashwords in the first instance.

There’s also a very useful free software tool called Calibre E-Book Management that will convert a document to Mobi format for tablets and Kindle. That means the files can be downloaded straight from your website without having to go through the middle man.


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