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So you want to publish a book: professional editing and illustrations

This series was originally posted in 2008


The editor is the most important member of the team you pull together. Don’t cheap out. There is nothing more cringeworthy than a poorly edited book. Don Bastian has decades of experience as an editor and was the Managing Editor at Stoddart books at one time.

Beyond looking simply for grammatical and spelling issues, the editor looks at the project from a readers perspective. Because of Don’s experience he was able to provide insights that made the narrative structure of the book better. And even then – we were still catching little things in the hours before the book went to the printer!

The illustrations are something that may sound easy. In Moose, illustrations are found at the beginning of each chapter and the cover. Great illustrations can help propel a story and set the tone for the book. Before we went with Bill Kimber, we looked at five other illustrators. Of those five, Bill came the closest to the “whimsy” we were looking for.

But even though he was close – it took some back and fourth before we got to where we were comfortable with what we had. Another thing to consider about the illustrator and the illustrations is how you plan to use them. In moose, the cover illustration is in colour and the chapter illustrations are in black and white. However, we had Bill create colour versions of everything, so we could also use these illustrations on the web site and on the materials Jim uses for his keynotes and workshops.

So you want to publish a book: self publishing & project management

This series was originally posted in 2008

To self-publish or go with a one of the big guys
One of the first questions I was asked (after how long does a book have to be?) by more than one person was how do you get a book deal? Well, if I’ve learned anything from the last five months, it’s that you don’t need a book deal to get a book published. And frankly, there’s not much hope for an unknown writer sending in an unsolicited manuscript to a large publisher anyway, so it’s really up to you.

For the purposes of this blog series, I’m going to assume that you’re going to self-publish your opus. The risks are great, but the potential reward is greater. Why? You front the money- risk. You keep all the profit – reward.

And for the second question, Moose on the Table was about 52000 words or 120 single spaced pages on MS WORD that came out to a 176 page softcover.

Project management
So you know you’re going to go forward and get the book out there. How do you arrange typesetting, printing, find editors, illustrators, and distribution? A good project manager should be able to help you with all of this and pull together a budget based on what you need. You may be surprised to learn that typesetting and printing costs – while substantial are actually a very small percentage of your overall budget.

With Moose on the Table – we went with Heidy Lawrence and Associates. You can find out more about her operation at www.wemakebooks.ca.

Heidy sourced out 6 different printers to get the best unit cost. She also took care of the typsetting, cover design, and look and feel of the book, from a font and layout perspective. Most importantly, she was able to provide us with a short ist of highly experienced editors and illustrators.

In the end, we went with Donald Bastian as the editor and William Kimber as our illustrator.