Ready-set-goSometimes, knowing when you're ready to publish is as hard as writing the manuscript. There are always final edits, and you could have a thousand final drafts. (FinalDraft.doc, ReallyFinalDraft.doc, ReallyReallyFinalDraft.doc, OkThisOneIsItFinalDraft.doc.) Sound familiar? Around here, it's our writers' favorite tune.

It's ok. We get it.

You've poured so much energy and love into your work and now you have to ship it off to a printer and send it out into the cold, cold world. You want to do everything you can to ensure its success.

Or, perhaps you're so sick of the darned thing you just want to be done with it. You're tempted to send it in. No. Matter. What.

So how do you know if you're truly ready to publish?

(And Why Editors Move to Goat Farms)

We wish there wasn't so much truth in this infographic about the "heartwarming, only slightly messy, and roughly 74 percent accurate story of how an idea churns through the publishing process." This post from WeldonOwen has been making the rounds in the publishing world online. Thank you for the laugh!

auntiereadinghurts LargeAs an author, you've probably been told time and time again that great authors read great books. You can't write if you don't read. And as an author, you probably always have a book by your bed, one on the kitchen table and another in the living room. Books lined up on shelves, books stacked on the floor, and books intermingled with various pages of your latest manuscript. Image from Auntie SparkNotes

You read for research. You read for inspiration. You read for pleasure.

So what if an acclaimed novelist told you, "Don't read that book"?

About a month ago in a column for The Tyee and in an interview on NPR's Talk of The Nation, that's exactly what Crawford Kilian told aspiring authors.

PrintingPressAs the Senior Editor for a small publishing company, I see a lot of potential books pass through my hands. To be honest, most of the manuscript submissions Light Messages receives have great potential. The themes are creative and timely, the information is engaging, and the characters are colorful. But more often than not, the books are simply not ready yet.

The single biggest mistake I see new authors make is to publish a book too soon. And I understand how it happens: You write the final line, share the manuscript with a few close friends and family, receive adoring reviews, and then proceed to submit the manuscript for publishing because you think there's nothing more to be done. Then, you wait. And wait. And wait some more. But the call never comes.

Seal StandardsChecklist

To give both authors and book industry professionals an at-a-glance method by which to gauge the professional presentation of a book, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) – ibpa-online.org – has released a 2-page Industry Standards Checklist for a Professionally Published Book. The checklist is broken into two sections, content and production, and provides an unbiased measure by which to critique published books.

As part of the IBPA Advocacy Committee, Light Messages Senior editor Elizabeth Turnbull helped write the checklist alongside committee chair Brooke Warner of She Writes Press, committee member Karla Olson of Patagonia Books, and Angela Bole, CEO of IBPA. 

Think Again!

By Nancy Panko, Author of Guiding Missal

After ten years of researching, writing, resting, and repeating the process over and over, my book Guiding Missal was published. One of my crowning achievements as a human being and a writer was also one of the most difficult things I’d ever done. I had yet to find out that there was more hard work to come. 

Throughout the process, I diligently followed the Light Messages “Author Pre-Publication Checklist” laying a lot of groundwork on which to build. You have probably all done the same basic work now that you are a published author but if you haven’t, perhaps you may want to download that list.

How are audiobooks changing the publishing industry? What is involved in the production of an audiobook? What is it like for an author to have her book narrated by someone other than herself? This month we interview author Kate Rademacher and audiobook narrator Becket Royce about their experience collaborating on the production of Following the Red Bird: First Steps into a Life of Faith. If you have any questions you'd like to ask our authors, make sure to leave a comment on our Facebook or Twitter!

Thank you for joining us for this month’s blog about the production of audiobooks. Can you both introduce yourselves?

Kate: My name is Kate Rademacher. I published my debut memoir, Following the Red Bird: First Steps into a Life of Faith, in mid-2017. The audiobook version, which was narrated by Becket Royce, was released in March 2018. Following the Red Bird is the story of my very unexpected conversion to Christianity, and how I began to understand what it means to be a Christian in the first year after my baptism. I like to say that the book explores not only the why of Christianity but the how.

Becket: I'm Becket Royce, and I was very pleased to have been chosen as the narrator Following the Red Bird. Most of the audiobooks that I've narrated are fiction, so I really enjoyed the challenge of narrating the words and thoughts of an actual human being! I'm honored to be a part of this project.