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The following is an overview of the steps you can expect your book or manuscript to go through before it becomes available in the marketplace. Not every step will apply to every book or to similar degrees. I suggest scanning through the list to get an idea of the stage your book is at and what additional steps you need to take to achieve success and which of those steps I can assist you with.

1. Manuscript Evaluation and Review

If you were to ask me what area you should spend your hard-earned money on in the editing process, I would answer: Have your manuscript reviewed and evaluated before considering hiring someone to copyedit. A good evaluation and review will highlight any structural and substantive issues that you can address and that would normally require extensive and costly efforts to correct when caught at the copyediting stage. A manuscript evaluation and substantive review will save you that expense and give you confidence to take the manuscript to the copyediting and publishing phase. A substantive evaluation from a knowledgeable review editor can attest to the readiness of the manuscript to be published and also gauge the potential interest in the publication. At this stage no copyediting actually takes place. If you've engaged me for this, what I do is read through a hardcopy of your manuscript making notes as I go along. I then use my notes to compile a substantive review of your manuscript, highlighting any major issues and my recommendations on how you can address them. I also gauge the primary issues that would need to be addressed during the copyediting phase. Manuscript evaluations and substantive reviews were one of the primary tasks I carried out for Namaste Publishing.

In my experience, structural issues are one of the primary concerns that crop up at the copyediting phase from manuscripts that have not been substantively reviewed. There is a lot you can do here without necessarily hiring an editor. One of my suggestions is to have as many people in your close circle read your manuscript when you feel you have completed your writing. What is important here is to not discount any feedback you receive from your readers even when it is not technical feedback. Do not be too attached to how you think things should be presented. See what patterns are showing up from the feedback, especially surrounding how you have structured your material. If general readers are seeing those issues it is likely other general readers will encounter those same issues if they remain uncorrected. Rewrite and restructure as you see fit after considering the feedback you received. If you have a substantive review document from me this is where it would be most useful. It will highlight the corrections and rewriting you need to undertake at the author level. The important thing is that you are doing this yourself and not paying someone else to make the corrections. 

3. Copyediting
If you have carried out steps one and two above, you should be very confident at this stage that your book does not have any glaring issues and that all that remains is to address the technical issues of grammar, diction, logic. This is where a professional normally steps in and where most people choose to hire an editor. The problem is most copyeditors focus on the technical issues of language and ignore or do not have the skill set to address matters of content, audience, and structure. A competent copyeditor should be able to address, correct, and improve the following: (i) Structure: Is the book organized in an effective manner? (ii) Style: Does the author's style and presentation suit the target audience? (iii) Content: Does the material reflect the standards of the genre and the topic? (iv) Language: Is the language readable, grammatical, and accurate? Points (i) to (iii) are all matters that an author can easily address at the rewriting phase, leaving the copyeditor with the primary task of addressing technical language issues. This also means the copyeditor will not be too distracted by those other matters and will be able to produce a more proficient document.

Once your manuscript has been edited, it should be ready to be considered for publication. Have faith in the process and if you have given it full effort, trust that the work is ready. Avoid further tinkering and focus on pitching your manuscript to potential publishers. Generally, there are three types of publishing avenues — Trade publishing (TP); Hybrid publishing (HP); and Independent publishing (IP). TP is where the publisher invests in the publication and passes royalties to the author. HP is where the publisher partners with the author and both invest in the publication. This is an expanding arena for publishing and is worth exploring. IP is essentially self-publishing and is a very viable option for authors with large fan bases, especially those working as public speakers. You will need a publisher submission package for all avenues (yes, including IP). Spend time creating a document that answers the following questions: Who are the readers of your book; what is the market? What books are similar to your book? How does your book stand out? Who are you as an author? Do audiences recognize who you are? Do you have a significant social media following? Essentially, come up with any answers to the question why anyone (including yourself) should pour money into publishing the book and the likehood that the investment will pay off. 

Depending on who is publishing the book (congratulations!) and the nature of the book, this phase will be handled by a graphic designer and/or editor. Trade publishers generally employ in-house designers for this task (perhaps after undertaking additional in-house editing). Hybrid publishers may undertake this task or may require the author to hire a designer and/or editor. With independent publishing, it is up to the author to sponsor this task. Because the temptation sometimes presents itself, please note that book design and layout is not something that can be effectively undertaken in word processing applications; you need specialized design software to output the types of files required by commercial book printers. Also note, as an author, your input at the design phase is very valuable; stay involved and provide feedback to the publisher/designer regarding style and what you want to achieve.

Barring major hiccups, this phase should go very smoothly. Once the layout is done, the most important task is to have the galleys (page printouts of the book) proofread. I highly suggest that this be done on paper galleys rather than digital galleys. Paper will present itself much more closely to how readers will encounter the book. Once the proofing is done and any errata have been corrected, book files can be prepared according to the specifications of the printing company. 

How the book is printed has a lot to do with the projected market. There are a wide range of options here. For independent publishers, there is the possibility of partnering with commercial printers to print/ship (fulfil) the book to specific locations when needed — awesome for travelling public speakers. This option is also viable for trade and hybrid publishers. Costs and benefits will impact how that can be done. It is also important to consider the environmental impacts of your printing choices.  

It's printed and now it comes down to this! Celebrate your book; spread the news; be seen; be heard — repeat! That is the only way books are sold.

There is a lot here, but I hope that this list gives you a good idea of what it takes to be holding a printed book in your hand. So how can I help?

I have done it several times and have the technical experience to take you every step of the way from Concept Development, Manuscript Evaluation, Structural Editing/Rewriting, Copyediting, Book Design and Layout, Proofreading and arranging Print Fulfilment. All of this is a collaborative effort. If you feel we are a good fit and your writing goals and approach match my spiritual intonation, I can help. It doesn't cost anything, but not doing it can keep possibility locked away. Send me an email and let me know you have a manuscript you are working on and you like my style! Let's go from there.

I have basic rates for stuff and can forward them to you anytime. I can also provide book development estimates if you give me a chance to take a look at your manuscript and editing needs. This is a human to human connection, common ground exists and with genuineness from both of us, we can find it. Reach me via email at

Let me ask: Who is that person waiting to come across your words so they can finally cross the bridge? Do not fail them.

Yours in service,
Chris Dube

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In addition to ongoing in-house work for Urban Mystic Books involving the creative and technical process of bringing words to print, I have had the privilege of working with and for (among others) the following artists, writers, publishers, and associations.

Background RESOURCES

As an editor and writer, I am highly appreciative of the creative energies that move writers and artists to create. Every work has its kernel of identity, a resonance that moves throughout its structure. My approach as an editor is to listen, hear clearly what the work wants to be and how it wants to be presented. The task is to help bring the writer's work into finished form while staying attentive to the source of its inspiration. It is there that the eternal timeless resides. 

I look forward to working with you and helping bring your vision into our shared reality.

Chris Dube


contact me via email using the link below

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