What does it cost to…

It’s the first question most people ask when they find out what I do. “About how much will it cost to do my book?”

I’d love to give you a quick easy answer, but there’s not one. There are so many facets to creating a good book and now so many different ways to get your book produced, the money you dish out can vary wildly.

However, I can give you a couple of tips to keep the cost down.

First, work with a good editor—a real editor, not your aunt Mary, unless she happens to work at Random House in the editorial department. Work initally with a development editor, a person who helps shape your book. If you are writing fiction, your editor will help you find your voice and help you pace the work. If you’re writing non-fiction, it’s even more important to work with someone who can give structure to your information, making your work clearer, cleaner and more enjoyable. Once you are out of the development stage, you’ll want a copy editor to go over your pages. Some editors do both, some don’t. I’ll talk more about finding the right editor in upcoming posts.

My second tip is keep your manuscript clear of extraneous characters. Never use spaces when you mean to tab, and never use tabs when an indent will work. Don’t use double paragraph returns to create space and use only one space after a period. (I know some people will argue this point for various reasons, but really, they’re going to come out before the book is published, so why not leave them out from the get-go?) Learn to use style sheets in your chosen word processor. Many of the settings you input manually become automatic when associated with a style sheet..

Style Sheets

Use them.

Whether you’re planning to create a book for print or ebook, you need to learn to use style sheets and use them well. You’ll save yourself a ton of time and money by doing this one thing. Not only do production people use style sheets to assure all the text in your book is consistent for printing, ebooks are written in HTML and use a CSS (cascading style sheets) file to describe the attributes of your book. When you use appropriate styles in Word or Open Office (or your word processor of choice), those styles can easily be translated into whatever software is being used to create your final product..

A Word Template

I have a love/hate relationship with MS Word. I loved it long ago in its infancy, but having worked in publishing for a while, I realize it pretends to be a page layout program but gives you just enough capability to produce something less than professional. Still, it’s the word processor of choice and many of you are comfortable using it. So, that’s where we’ll start the process of creating your beautiful ebook. I’m working to create a template that is both easy to use and will give you results you can be proud to call your own. This process should be completed in the next few weeks. I’ll also be creating some documentation to help you be more efficient using both the ebook template and Word in general. But for now, it’s back to work..