Sunday, February 5, 2017

From Manuscript to Commercially-Published Book in 12 VERY Easy Steps


Have you ever asked the question – if I self-publish, does that mean I’m stuck self-publishing forever?

A lot of writers think they’re stuck defining themselves as one or the other, either a “self-published writer” or a “commercially-published writer.”  I hope you haven’t fallen into that trap!

In fact, you don’t have to pigeonhole yourself that way, as I hope I’ve proved with the release of my first book from a commercial publishing company, Yossi & the Monkeys (Kar-Ben, 2017).

So what’s it like having a book commercially published after so much self-publishing experience?

It’s weird, that’s all I can say.  It’s all about sitting back, relaxing, and WAITING, because this thing took – well, forever.

But still – I thought it would be fun to break it into steps, like in my last post, so you can see what was involved along the way.  So here we go… with Step 1.

Step 1.  Contest submission.

It all started back in 2014 with a Jewish kids’ story contest at Barbara Krasner’s website.  I entered, didn’t win, didn’t even come close.  But a real editor was reading!

Trouble was, my story came in at around 10,000 words (what was I thinking???).  It had 10 chapters, it was an EPIC.  Oops… wayyyyy too long!  Here’s Chapter One.


2. Contest rejection

Well, needless to say, this 10,000-word behemoth was rejected – with just about the nicest rejection note I have ever, ever seen:


She liked it!  She really did!  Considering I hadn’t paid anything to enter this contest, it was a delight to receive a positive reply like this.

Only trouble was… how to get the story down THAT small?  10,000 words to 850 words???

From Manuscript to Self-Published Book in 10 Simple Steps


What’s next? 

That’s the question I hear most often from writers out there.  Maybe even from you.  It’s what everybody wants to know, so if you’re stuck on that question, you’re not alone.

You already have a great story, one you really believe in, and you’re READY – you just want to get your story out there into the world.

Here’s the great news:  you CAN!

You can self-publish your book, in ten not-so-tough steps I’ll lay out for you here.  You’ll have to put in some time, some energy, and there is absolutely a learning curve.  But I believe this process is so simple that just about anybody can master it with a little experience.

I’m going to illustrate these steps with a book that I actually did self-publish.  It’s called Shabbat Monsters.  It’s a good example because it’s a pretty classic 32-page rhyming picture book. 

Let’s get started… at the very beginning, with

Step 1.  Your MANUSCRIPT.


Looks pretty plain, doesn’t it?  I hope you’ve had it professionally edited.  If not, go do it – NOW.

Okay, you’re back.  Your story’s ready.  Let’s move on to…

Step 2. Your dummy

No, I’m not CALLING you a dummy!  It’s time to make a dummy.  32 pages, 2-page spreads.  Time to start planning what we (the reader) are going to see on every single page.


So that’s the first stage of planning what the pages are going to look like.  Once I know what illustrations I’m going to need, it’s time for…

Step 3.  Artwork

If you’re not an artist (you’ll know if you are), I strongly recommend you get a professional to do this step, even if you have to pay them.  I loved the artist I worked with for this book.  A little slow, but she was very responsive.  First, she sent me sketches…