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Self-Publishing Done Well: The Human Touch

by Holly Monty, MA MAC ELS

Self-publishing has much to offer to the adventurous and individualistic author: among its assets are greater room for artistic inspiration, improved financial control, creative marketing opportunities, and higher profit. A wealth of how-to information is available to the aspiring self-publisher, and an author with a little Web know-how can make use of the myriad tools and resources offered for everything from cover design to copyright registration.

Such electronic resources certainly aid in getting a manuscript self-published, but an author should still seek the human touch when it comes to editing and proofreading. Word’s grammar- and spell-checkers are not enough to ensure that your writing is clear and that you avoid those amateurish and embarrassing errors in grammar that will immediately turn off your reader and destroy your credibility. A professional editor will not only correct your manuscript for errors in punctuation, spelling, and syntax but will locate those niggling errors in usage and sense that may unintentionally distort your meaning or cloud your prose.

A self-publisher can also take advantage of the experience of a professional when it comes to navigating the available distribution options. You have a manuscript—now what? A professional can help you answer this question by explaining the paths available, including publishing as print, e-book, Web site, or Kindle.

Once the writing is polished and the various methods of publication have been explored, a professional can ensure that your publication is optimized for each form in which it is distributed. The wonderful thing about the available technology is that so many more avenues for expression are available on electronic platforms, and a professional will help you to make the most of them. Even if you publish in print, a venue with which we are all familiar, you’ll also want to distribute your text via e-book, which can make use of linking to enable the reader to connect directly to your sources or personal Web site; embedding of graphics, music, or even YouTube videos to create a three-dimensional reading experience; and navigational tools that will allow the reader to jump from point to point in your document with ease and precision. Kindle editions have their own challenges, from proper Kindle design of interior elements such as maps, images, and the table of contents to actually uploading your document to Amazon's site—an adventure all its own.

A professional has the experience and depth of knowledge to aid the self-publishing author in tackling these challenges. From editing to proofing to layout according to platform, don't forget the human touch. Hire the professional you need to get you there.