Develop Your Book’s Manuscript and Metadata
Before you take the step to pay for any more help, first
make your manuscript is as clear as possible. I recommend to
write it all down as it comes to you. After you have done that, pull
it all together into a single Word document. Then, repeatedly self-edit
and revise your manuscript until the whole thing makes the
most sense. Once you have self-edited and revised your writing
several times, you may choose to find a critique partner to give
the manuscript a read, then get their feedback. Whenever possible
it’s helpful to let your environment supply what your book is in
need of for free. For instance, readers for your manuscript. Be
open to the supportive and interested people among you in your
daily life. And share with people only when you have written
down, self-edited, and revised your work to the point that you
feel it’s ready to be read by someone other than yourself. And
if you are writing a children’s book and are fortunate enough to
work in an elementary school, wonderful. That is a natural fit.
My books benefited greatly from the input of the students I
worked with. Fourth and fifth graders became my little critique
partners and beta readers for two of my books. At the time, I hadn’t
any knowledge of book industry lingo like that. Beta readers being
volunteer readers who give feedback on literature that’s unpublished.
It was fun to share my story with interested young readers who were
also learning about the creative writing process. I gave their teacher
about 25 copies of a draft of Lil’ Phyllis Meets Her Book Fair Fairy.
We agreed that the kids would read it as a group, then write their
opinions about the story. They gave great reading responses- full of
compliments, critiques and inferences on where they thought the story
should go. Essentially these elementary students were educating me.
I was able to apply those valuable written responses from the
kids to my finished book. Maybe you have access to the exact
audience for whatever genre you’re writing to. See if you can do
something similar before you spend any money with a freelance
And before you think about placing extra
pressure on yourself by setting a hard launch date for your book.
There are a few things you can do that make for a smoother
self-publishing journey. I’d like to help you be prepared for the
wide range of questions specific to your book. These are the
things you will need before you can upload and publish your
book files. So I put these tough questions right up front.
No need to be stressed out about it. In this chapter we’ll go
over the basic, yet important bits of information together. You
won’t know many of the answers yet. But you will know what
to be prepared for. And in the chapters that follow, you’ll gather
and organize the information you need about your book.
For instance, writing a description for your book is just as
important to its success as what you write on the interior pages.
This is marketing by way of metadata. Something we will highlight
more in chapter 2. And something that was invisible to myself
early on. We will go over this bit of book metadata thoughtfully
from the start, rather than leave it as an after thought at the end.
Early in my experience, all I wanted to do was to publish my
book. But, the metadata information is a prerequisite to upload
with any book distributor or aggregator. I would be scrambling
to fulfill all the data requirements just before uploading.
Let’s start by sketching out some of the details of your
book’s profile information. You will need to provide a short and
long description, and author biography at the file upload.
Wirte your first drafts. There will likely be changes to it after
you have done more research. Take a look at book descriptions
of other titles in your book’s genre for some ideas for yours.
It is helpful to think of the book description as an introduction.
When writing the description visualize the ideal readers that would
appreciate a book like yours, and speak to them. Write about what
is most interesting about your book. But leave out the details.
The goal with a book description is to build interest and engage
new readers to choose your book for their next read. In chapter one
you started by looking at other book descriptions for examples. Then
you used the space provided to start brainstorming your own. Here
is support to help finalize your book’s description. Sometimes called
the sales description, this is about giving people a look at what a
book has to offer them if they buy it. Through the description you
are establishing a report with the reader right away. You use it to
announce to the reader there’s something really interesting in this
book for you, if you’d just stop and take a look inside it. It also helps
to include as many keywords as possible, that make sense, in the
description. Try to write a few versions of a book description, and
choose the two that are the best. Make one the short description.
Like a headline, the short description is written to be a quick and
exciting statement of the most interesting thing about the book. The
other, long description expands on what the book offers the reader.
Write the long version to back up the headline with more details of
what the reader will find inside. Tell the reader about the problem
the book attempts to address or the adventure that awaits them.
Hint at the solution that’s inside the book’s pages. Let the reader
know that the content will help them in a specific way if they continue
to read. When writing the description, do so with your ideal reader
in mind, write what they would ask about your book. But leave
out the best details. Then conclude in the description a summary
of what’s in the book and who the book is for. Place any awards
and recognitions here. But try not to add dates to a description so
that the copy will always appear new.
The shorter version of your book description introducing
your book could also be placed in the back cover copy. While the
reader is holding a physical copy in their hand it might interest
them. The back cover is another chance to sell the book using
the copy you write for it. And new readers may choose your
book as their next read based on your description. Also consider
adding a juicy quote, from the book to hook the readers.
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