Finally, your manuscript is ready—as polished and as professional as you can make it. You find yourself trawling through the pages into which you’ve poured your soul, and you smile to yourself as you re-read your favourite passages. Your friends and family have showered praise upon your work, and they can’t believe any publisher could possibly fail to snap it up and make it a best-seller. But you know it’s unlikely to be that easy.
You’ve done everything you can with the skills you’ve developed; now you need help—professional help. You’ve reached that point where the writing profession meets the editing and publishing professions, and the differences may at first seem daunting: different focus, different business model, different language, different pace. But if you’re to engage with these professionals, it will help to understand how they operate so that you can find the right home for your work.
Getting help from editors and publishers isn’t a matter of handing your work over to them, and then waiting until it magically turns up on the shelf in a book store. You will continue to be involved as the work develops, and the level of your involvement will typically be negotiated beforehand. So, it’s important that you find an editor and a publisher with whom you can sustain a relationship, and in whom you trust the care of your creation.
Even if you aren’t intending for your work to be public, you may still need editorial and publishing services. Recalling your urge to write, and why you embarked upon this journey of creative outpouring, to have participated in the process of writing might have been your only aim. Even so, the product of your labour will be the corporeal artefact of that experience, and, if every time you look at it, all you see is the spelling mistake on the third line, you will wish that an editor had cast an expert eye over those pages. Arguably, there is no written work that can’t be improved by professional editing.
If your aim was to distribute your work to family and friends only, then self-publishing might be an option for you. Presenting your work professionally for a very small readership can be an economic proposition using modern technology, and so well worth investigating.
This section will look at some of the things you might want to consider when you’ve done everything you can, and you need professional help to move further:
- Finding an editor appropriate for the kind of editing your work needs can be tricky.
- You should be familiar with the basic editing process prior to determining what level of editing might be most appropriate for your work.
- You might be interested in getting an external review from a review service provider as an independent assessment of your work, either before or after editing.
- There are thousands of publishers, but not all of them will be open to receiving your work, so you will want to optimise your time and effort in finding a publisher.
- There are several common alternatives to know about when formatting for publishing.
- If you think you would prefer the self-publishing route, there are several considerations to bear in mind.
For anyone whose dream is to publish their work for public readership, this part of the journey can be very exciting. It’s like preparing for your child’s first day at school, anticipation and anxiety crowding one another in the back of your mind. The myriad paths to many different futures all lead from this point. You only have one more step to take—the leap from the precipice into the unknown.
Finally, we’ve also collected a number of other helpful links which you might find useful to access.