Turning an idea into a book is an exciting process – yet one that is also fraught with a number of challenges. So, you wake up one day with the hangover of an idea that desperately wants to see the light of day and find its way into the hands of a reader as a book. Your publishing dreams may be in technicolour but you need to get the specifics right – in black and white – first! So here are the steps that go into translating your idea into a book:
- Writing: This is the obvious start point of turning your idea into a book. You begin by writing. But what many first time authors do not understand is that writing a book is more than just tapping out sentence after sentence on your word processor. You will need to have a coherent structure in place before you start filling in the bricks and cement. Your scaffolding in this case is the summary, the outline and the synopsis of your book. In fact, I would go a step further and urge you to create character sketches as well. Now, your outline should define the plot, while the summary should bring out the story and the most saleable points of the same. Finally, the synopsis should have a clear flow which demarcates one chapter from the other. Dedicate at least a paragraph towards each chapter in this document. Refer to it frequently while you are writing.
- Editing: Usually, the editing of the manuscript is done by a professional editor after you have turned your idea into a book. While writing a book, we usually get into the story and the writing to the degree that we know the flow of words like the back of our hand. So, if we attempt to edit it ourselves, we may skim over the errors because our mind reads faster when we know the sequence of the words. An editor will usually put your manuscript through three distinct rounds of editing. The first round will have to do with structural editing which is crucial when it comes to turning your idea into a book. Here, the actual texturing within the story will take place and the editor will be able to tell you what to add and remove, and how to make things a little more interesting. Next, there will be a round of line editing for grammatical errors. Finally, after the layout, there will be a final round of proof reading just before the manuscript goes in for printing.
- Printing: In a bid to turn an idea into a book, many authors forget to get into the finer and more technical aspect of things. It would be worthwhile to engage with a publishing company so that the layout and design of the book along with the cover design and ISBN procurement will be taken care of. Most authors also hold full time jobs, which can make it very difficult for them to actually get into the nitty gritties of paper selection, layout and design among various other things. This is a very important gamut of functions that needs to be done in a specific and well timed sequence. It also needs to be backed with proper knowledge of paper, ISBN procurement and various other aspects of design.
- Promote: Now that you have turned your idea into a book, you need to know that you have reached the final and probably the most important step – promotion. This is closely associated with distribution of the book as well. What makes a book sell? Ask yourself this question frequently. Jot down your unique selling points in terms of plots, characters and settings so that you know exactly what may strike a chord. Then, match this with proper social media posts, blog posts, a pre and post launch campaign among many other such things. Plan an event and invite the media, even as you regularly update your pages. Yet, this also takes time and a great deal of expertise, and not to mention – some inside contacts within the media. You may want to look for a dedicated PR professional to handle this, or even engage with a publishing house that believes in the power of promoting authors and their stories, instead of merely printing and distributing books. The quality of your promotions will also have a bearing on your distribution and sales.
- Distribute: Even as you promote, it is imperative to tie up with a distributor or a publishing house so that your book is widely available. Turning your idea into a book includes taking it to the bookshelves of your prospective readers. While most distributors do not accept first time authors’ stories and small print runs, you will have better luck if you find a publisher with a wide distribution channel – both online and offline. Mostly, if you have held a book launch event at a notable bookstore, they will offer you complementary display of your books at all their branches for the next few months. These are the kind of tie ups that most publishing houses have with bookstores.
So, do not shy away from turning that idea into a book. Write to your heart’s content and then look for a publishing house that will do all of the above. And remember – do not scrounge on the budget. Otherwise, you have may turn your idea into a book – but it may never reach the right place! In case you are wondering, we accept manuscripts at firstname.lastname@example.org