This year, I’m pleased to announce I’m going to be publishing my fifth work of fiction, Whizzers. Hard to believe, because it seems like just yesterday when I launched my first novel, Brothers’ Hand, into an unsuspecting world.

I still remember some of the reactions from folks who didn’t know that I’d started this book all the way back in the 1990s. “Wait, Mike, you mean this guy gets dosed with LSD at a party and then his hand gets chopped off by a speeding locomotive? Jeez!” Ah, those were the days.

Well, some of my blog readers are writers, and some aren’t, but I know you’re all curious about today’s topic – whether you’re just interested as a reader or you’ve got a first book coming out. It takes a village, as they say. So here are 7 things to check one last time before you pull the trigger and publish.

  1. Editing – Editing seems like a no-brainer, but I can tell you from my own experience: it ain’t easy. I edited my work over and over before I sent it to my editor, and then I had to reckon with all my editor’s suggested changes. Some were great – I really had to get better about breaking up larger paragraphs into smaller ones – but some were, uh, just not a good fit for me. Once I made the changes I could get on board with, I still had more work to do. And that work was…
  2. Proofreading – Yes, proofreading. Of course, I’d already proofread my work before editing. But now that I’d edited my editor, I had an entirely new book! It almost didn’t feel like my book (almost – I took about 70% of my editor’s suggestions, but one more change and it would have felt like my style was obliterated). Did you know that the average book gets published with at least 6-7 errors? I did my best to get that number closer to zero, and I probably still missed a couple.
  3. All the interior elements – Once your book has been converted to layout format, it’s going to look a lot different. Unfortunately, you can’t just transfer that Publishing Layout in MS-Word to a real publishing layout. So that means you have to do another round of proofing. For one, you need to make sure word breaks are correct. You also want to eyeball the book like a reader and check the top and bottom of each page for consistent spacing. A great interior designer will have all this fixed for you. But it’s best to make sure they’re great by checking every page. You also may have a dedication page, and most importantly, double or triple check everything on your copyright page – year, ISBN number, CIP data, and so on. 
  4. All the exterior elements – Again, sounds like a no-brainer, but you want to feel comfortable that your final copies will look final. An ebook version and a paper version are very different. Check all the basic exterior elements. That means the design, title, your name, and any other elements that will be on both front covers. On the print version, recheck the entire back cover, the spine elements, any blurbs, the bar code…everything.
  5. Links – So of course you’re selling your book online, right? Right? If you have a variety of distribution channels – mine include Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart & Indiebound – you need to make sure those links are up and running. If you’re doing pre-orders (always a good option), see if you can find out whether the preorder buttons are working correctly. Which brings me to…
  6. Buy/preorder buttons – Again, sounds like a no-brainer, but stuff happens. Remember, you don’t have to actually go through the entire buying process on Amazon to get to the checkout lane. If you’re planning to buy copies of your own book to juice the numbers, forget it. You can only buy one ebook copy of your own book, and it’s not going to make your sales number go from 297,986 to, say, 11. You did the work. Let others do the buying. If you can check with folks you know who buy your book, find out whether their experience was seamless. It should be, but you never know.
  7. Self-care measures in place – Finally, a point that has nothing to do with scrutinizing your book and everything to do with checking in with yourself. The whole process of publishing a book is exciting and a bit scary for anyone, so you need to make sure it doesn’t make you sick! There’s a reason a lot of us say things like, “My books are my babies.” Once they’re launched into the world to be judged, dissected, or ignored, we have to let them go. Part of that process is taking extra good care of yourself before, during, and after launch time.

And that’s it for now. If you’d like to get on the mailing list to preorder Whizzers when it becomes available later this year, please email me directly at info@msahno.com. You’ll get updates, cool exclusive content, and you might even end up on the launch team!

self-marketers

Authors As Self-Marketers

A couple years back, in an article about self-publishing, I wrote the following: If you’re an author with a traditional publishing contract, you don’t really have to be an entrepreneur as such; the publishing company does the marketing and PR for you, though you have...
next book

Whizzers: The Next Novel

Recently I sent out a subscriber-only newsletter about my next book launch. My fourth novel, Whizzers, is my current Work-In-Progress, and I plan to launch it in 2019. I was pleased to get some email responses to my newsletter, as I am looking to build the largest...

Cover Reveal: Rides From Strangers

Rides From Strangers is coming! Today’s post is a reminder about the upcoming publication of my new short story collection, which is indeed called Rides From Strangers, after the first story in the book. For those of you already on my email newsletter list, I will be...
metaphysical

Five Ways You Can Help With a Local Book Launch Event

This week I want to write a bit more about my fourth novel, Whizzers. It’s my current Work-In-Progress, and I plan to have it finished this year in order to launch it in 2019. One of the few luxuries of being an independent author is that I haven’t set a firm...
patchworks

Patchworks: A Book Review

Today I woke to the all-too-familiar tragic news of yet another mass shooting. Sadly, we all know what will happen next: politicians will sputter, talking heads will bloviate, and the next thing that gets done about gun control will be – absolutely nothing. Such is...

How Do You Write A Book?

This past week I had the chance to talk to a fair number of business owners. That's normal for what I do, but the interesting thing this week was the similarity of the conversations. Not all entrepreneurs ask me the same things. Some ask me what I do. Many of them end...

Who You Gonna Call? or Being Your Own Tech Support

I wrote my third novel between about 2007 and 2015. I can’t say it took a full eight years to write – I got stuck in the final third for a couple years – but it was an ambitious project. I’d gone from a third person novel to a first person novel, and now I was going...
technophobia

Technophobia: A Writer’s Confession

To today's computer-savvy readers, "technophobia" might sound like a quaint leftover from the 20th century. You remember, right? Back in the 1980s, guys like me wrote poems of dismay about the invasion of technology into the arts. I still remember the words I penned...
Thanksgiving

Gratitude Week: A Thanksgiving Reflection from Mike Sahno – Author. Speaker. Publisher.

2018 has been trying, to say the least. In January, I posted a New Year's resolution to finish my current WIP, Whizzers, this year. Then, on Valentine's Day, that got back-burnered when the call came that my 81-year-old mother had taken a fall and had to be...

Miles of Files: Where Did It Come From?

I wrote my third novel between about 2007 and 2015. I can’t say it took a full eight years to write – I got stuck in the final third for a couple years – but it was an ambitious project. I’d gone from a third person novel to a first person novel, and now I was going...