in Authorpreneur

How to Treat Your Book Like a Business

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Wise Ink Creative Publishing just celebrated our 1 year anniversary. (YAY!) For us, it’s a time of celebration, but it’s also a time of reflection. We’ve been thinking about our business on a macro level, and about the best and quickest ways we can help authors get the information and learn the skills they need.


We’ve been spending the last few weeks thinking about our business process, i.e. the most efficient way to get things done, while also allowing authors to customize their publishing dreams without letting anything fall through the cracks. And that’s when we realized, that writing a book requires the same sort of macro analysis that a business needs.


In a business, you install a process, a series of steps that lead you from the beginning of a project to a completed product. Inside, there is a system of checks and balances that ensure quality for your customer, and it gives you a timeline to get things done quickly, and concrete goals to meet. Think of a process as a flow chart. Each step carries you closer and closer to being finished.


Writing a book is a daunting process, and at times, it can be seen as overwhelming. It can take years, or even decades, and there are a million things to do, and that’s BEFORE you publish!


Previously, we’ve given some tips on how to treat your writing like a career instead of a hobby, but it’s important to go deeper to really flesh out your goals. To create a process for your book, break up writing into small stages. Think about exactly what you’re looking for/trying to do in each stage. Think about when you want to have it done, and why you’re doing it the way you are.


A process will insure you’re doing all you can to write the book with the quality you deserve. It will also help you break up a huge project into manageable, bite-sized pieces, that will keep you motivated day after day. The timeline you create to go with the process will allow you to plan events (like pitching your manuscript at a workshop, or a blog tour) in advance!


A broad process for your book (without due dates) might look something like this:

  1. create basic outline of plot and detailed cast of characters
  2. break outline of plot into chapters, flesh out specific action to occur in each chapter
  3. assess outline for plot holes, and fix
  4. first draft (broken down into small sub-steps for chapter/section)
  5. one week break
  6. developmental revision (assessing manuscript for big issues, like plot holes, big inconsistencies, missing scenes, etc.)
  7. one week break
  8. closer developmental revision (assessing manuscript for smaller inconsistencies, expanding scenes, dialogue, etc.)
  9. one week break
  10. copy edit (line-by-line assessment and edit of the way your words tell your story)
  11. proofread for grammatical errors
  12. beta reader round one
  13. edit manuscript based on beta comments
  14. copy edit
  15. beta reader round two
  16. edit manuscript based on beta comments

And so on until you have a book that is ready to submit to a literary agent or editor.


You can (and should) break down your steps into sizes you feel are comfortable and clear for you. We work with an author that goes through her manuscript about ten times in a row and in each pass, she focuses on a single crutch word!


Depending on whether you want to traditionally publish or self-publish, your manuscript can be in varying stages of completeness before you send it off. For literary agents, you want it to be as close to ready to publish as possible. If you’re self-publishing, you can get an editor who will shape up a rougher book, but remember, you will have to pay your editor by the hour!


Writers, what does your process look like?

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  1. I was so surprised that an article titled “How to Treat Your Book Like a Business” did not in fact describe any business aspects of book-publishing, just instructions for organising the writing before “submitting to a literary agent or editor.” The biggest problem for the author entrepreneur to to sell the final published book, which was what I thought the business side of self-publishing was all about.

  2. Congrats ladies on your 1 year anniversary! That’s awesome and here’s to another a successful year!

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