How We Published a Book on Our Years of Activism – A Checklist for Aspiring Authors

Right now is one of the best times to self publish your book. If you’ve been working on a manuscript and you would like to see it published, there’s no need to deal with traditional publishers and the possibility of rejection after rejection when you could undertake the proofreading and editing process yourself. Companies like Amazon and Reedsy have everything you need to get a book published.

Formatting is one of the essential parts of seeing your work showcased on any self publishing platforms like KDP Select – but before you get to the formatting process of the publishing chain, there’s editing first. 

Is your book ready to proceed to the semi-final formatting stage before it gets uploaded for publication? 

Ask yourself these essential questions to find out if your manuscript is ready to be formatted. 

Is It Free of Spelling Mistakes?

There are thousands of self published books out there that weren’t properly checked when authors did their uploading – and this results in glaring errors and a generally unprofessional end product. No writer wants to say this about any of their work. 

Make sure that your manuscript has been checked properly for spelling errors before you consider it ready for the formatting stage. 

Double-check your manuscript with a tool like Grammarly before moving on. It can also be helpful to use several different checkers on the same manuscript to make sure that the first program didn’t miss any potential errors. 

Are There Grammatical Errors? 

Spelling mistakes and grammar errors aren’t the same thing. Spelling mistakes can be obvious and once you’ve been through the manuscript a few times from start to finish, you’ll have caught most of them and a spellchecker will fix the rest – but grammatical errors in a manuscript can be a little more tricky.

Grammatical errors are usually down to the way things are said – they versus them, him versus he, on top of instead of overhead, a pair versus a trio. 

They hide in sentences, and they aren’t as obvious as spelling issues. 

Tools like Grammarly can also help you to check for grammatical errors in your work, but no online tool is flawless. All writers are encouraged to brush up on their grammar for those things that online tools will miss.

Have I Been Consistent? 

Consistency is one of the most important things when you’re taking your manuscript to the final publishing stages. For example, do you use 02:00 in one chapter and refer to 2AM in the next? 

A style sheet can help you to be more consistent, and give you an easy place to refer back to when you aren’t sure how something should be noted down.

When working your way through your book before the publishing stage, write up your own style sheet and create rules for how things in your manuscript should work.

Where you notice any serious flaws, you can use the Replace All tool in your word processor to make these changes a lot faster – and in bulk.

What Have Test Readers Thought? 

Every self published writer should have a few reliable contacts who they consider beta or test readers. These should be trusted contacts (and not necessarily family or friends) who can give you an honest opinion about what they thought. 

Always run a manuscript that’s about to be published through your test readers. Where there are any issues, they will be quick to tell you – whether these issues are with your manuscript’s grammar or your story’s plot. 

Reliable beta readers can save writers a lot of time when they are about to get their manuscript ready for publication. Where authors might not spot their own mistakes and writing flaws, beta readers can help.