Sunday, June 8, 2014

From Idea to Published in 18 Months and Ten Steps. Step 6: Finalizing the Manuscript
Operation Valuable Fiend
(Arcade Publishing, 2014)
In the series of blogs titled "From Idea to Published in 18 Months and Ten Steps," I have so far covered these steps of the process:
Now, with a signed contract from the publisher in hand, you have to focus all your efforts in completing finalizing the manuscript within the deadline stipulated in the contract. It is important to meet the deadline because the entire publishing cycle is driven by it. The publisher performs a number of sales and marketing activities, such as inserting your book in their upcoming releases catalog, introducing the book to wholesalers and distributors, and presenting it at book fairs and festivals. All these are done before you submit the manuscript with the assumption that you will deliver on schedule. So, don't miss the deadline.

From the drafting phase of the manuscript (Step 3), you should have come out with an "80 percent" complete, almost publishable product. Now is the time to fill the gaps and tie any loose threads in your story. At this stage, I send out the manuscript to several people whom I believe can read and provide valuable feedback on its quality and helpful suggestions for improvements or additions. Naturally, I ask them beforehand to make sure they have the time and are willing to read the draft.

Eventually, after all the input has made it in the manuscript, I finalize it and prepare it for submission to the editor. Up to this point, I have taken advantage of MS Word formatting features, such as headings, subheadings, bibliography entries, references, and so on. Now, I convert everything in straight text, double-spaced, font size 12, Times New Roman (unless the editor has specified a different font). I check the bibliography and notes one last time before I convert them to text, as well. From this point forward, the manuscript will be one big text file.

The publisher may also have a style guide preferred by the house. I take a final pass to ensure that I have incorporated all their style requirements. Finally, I email the final manuscript to the editor and move to Step 7: Editing.