Welcome to another one of my bite-size bestseller boot camps.

I’m going to give you three tips that are really useful for first time authors to help you produce your own successful book.

We’re going to look at number five out of my six steps today – proofing and formatting your book.

Tip: Get help with proofing and formatting even if you’ve got an eagle eye and you’re very good with computers. People are blind to their own mistakes. You’re programmed subconsciously to think “I don’t actually make mistakes” and you look at it in a completely different perspective. I’m sure you’ve missed perhaps an occasional typo in a twenty-page report of your own that you might have done – but as soon as you see a page of somebody else’s book – bang – you’ve spotted the mistake straight away.

That’s what you want to happen with your book before it’s printed, so do get help with proofing and formatting because you get stuck in a rut and you’re more likely to make a mistake. I don’t want that happening. Also, it’s a good idea to create multiple formats a this stage. Once all the proofreading and the formatting is done for your printed book, then you can start thinking about the supplementary formats you may want to produce. That could be:

  • Amazon Kindle format
  • a PDF format that you can email to prospective clients
  • turning it into an audiobook

It could be all sorts of things. If you start to create multiple formats when you might still find mistakes in the book, then… you’re going to have to fix the eBook version… you’re going to have to fix the Kindle version… you’re going to have to fix the print version and make sure it still fits on all the pages properly when you’ve done that.

Only create multiple formats when you’re absolutely sure nothing else is going to change. Don’t do it too early, otherwise you’ll have “version hassle from hell”. It just creates a lot of very tedious detailed work that you could easily avoid. Triple check each format. Obviously when you’re doing a printed book, you want to make sure

  • your chapters start on the right hand page
  • there’s no  widows and orphans in the book so there’s just one little part of a sentence on it’s own at the bottom of a page

Things like this need to be corrected in each version. It’s the same if it’s PDF. Your book going to be a full-size or printer-paper size the book, rather than paperback size which is much smaller. You’ve got to make sure your content still fits on a larger piece of paper, it makes sense. If you’re giving somebody a set of steps to do, can they

  • see all the steps on one Kindle screen
  • see all the steps on one page
  • see all the steps in a double page spread for example

That’s what I mean about triple check the format, making sure people can see all the information they need to see together for the information to make sense and that would work really well. That’s point number five, proofread and format your book. We’re nearly there on the six steps.

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