You Finished Writing Your Book. Now What?

You punch the “SAVE” button for what you hope will be the last time and settle back with a sigh of relief. You’ve completed that work of fiction or nonfiction that’s been on your mind for months, perhaps years. It’s an idea that demanded release, a story that had to be told. And now you have told it—from preface to epilogue.

Now, nothing stands between you and your reading audience. Technology has opened the door for direct, instantaneous delivery of your book to all who choose to read it. The technology is called Print on Demand (POD and/or self-publishing), and it’s a writer’s dream come true. Gone are the days when authors wasted months drafting query letters, wooing agents, getting past first readers, and filing rejection slips.

Self-publishing lets you, the writer, communicate immediately and person-to-person with your reader. No picky publisher stands in the way. In the quest for profit (or at least to make back  your expenses), you see no need to hire a book editor or proofreader. But what is your good name worth?

A self-published book goes out “as-is.” What you write is what the consumer reads—word for word, line for line, page for page. Whatever mistakes you make in the original are there for the entire world to see.

Selective Sight: Am I Seeing Things?

All writers make mistakes—even the bestselling big names. In re-reading and double-checking, the human brain sees what was intended, not necessarily what is actually there. It takes a fresh eye to spot problems the author missed. That’s what editors are for.

Time: Let Your Manuscript Rest

Let your manuscript sit for a while—even a year—and then return to it. You’ll see problems that you never realized were there. If you’re antsy to get moving, start looking for professional editor. Partnering with a book editor and proofreader will save you time as well as your reputation as a writer.

Competitive Edge: Don’t Presume Readers Will Forgive Transgressions

Readers know good writing from bad. A smooth, well-edited book will sell, while a choppy, error-laden one won’t. It’s easy to find book reviews that focus on the errors and ignore the storyline. If you don’t want those types of reviews, invest in a professional book editor, and don’t go with the lowest quote. It’s a waste of money. See Beware the Lowball: Editing Rate Quotes.

People Talk. And That Generates Sales. Or Not.

Friends tell friends what to buy and can share wish lists. They check Amazon,The New  York Times Book Reviews, Publisher’s WeeklyNPR, and Goodreads. Errors of grammar, punctuation, style, or construction will keep even the best story out of a shopping cart.

POD Costs Money

You’ll pay just as much to have a sloppy book published as one that is clean, correct, and readable.


If the world is going to see your book with your name on it, shouldn’t it be the best work you are capable of?

Novice authors can establish a reputation through self-publishing. A bad book ruins a career before it ever starts, and your name and title live forever in cyberspace.


A clean, readable self-published book can open doors to the broader (and potentially more lucrative) world of mass market publishing. Top-quality editing and proofreading can help you breathe a final sigh of relief, knowing that your self-published book has the potential to earn great reader reviews.


Ayla Myrick
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