Writing a book is easy when you know how to do it – like most things, the first time you try something it seems like a big deal and yet when you have finished, it becomes clear how easy it was. Is not hindsight a great thing!
First decide on your time frame – if you want to get this book out by Christmas and it is already September, then you will need to seriously rush through these steps a lot more, but if you have more time to play with this would not necessarily mean getting your book out any faster. Once you set a time limit for yourself, break it down into three parts. Your first draft may only be half the contents that will end up being in the finished book, but it is a great way to start getting the information assembled and out of your note book or head and onto a manuscript.
From there, you can go back and fill in the gaps, flesh out the text, decide what illustrations and pictures will be needed, and check your research facts. what is self publishing may take at least as long as the first draft. Allowing for approximately 2000 – 4000 words per chapter, and working on doing 1000 words per day is a reasonable way of approximating the time it will take to complete your first and second drafts.
All up this phase should take less than half of the time you need to get your book finished from your established starting point. From second draft phase, you will need to have a good professional editing job done – and please do not scrimp on the cost of this part. A good editor will not only deal with word and sentence construction but also the grooming of the contents to ensure your book is going to be well read and of value to your intended readers.
Once the contents are finalized, your book can go to pre-press, where the construction of how it looks and the way the information flows visually is started. The fonts and layout are decided on and typesetting goes along with the design of your book cover and back cover layout. While this is happening, the testing of your titles should be happening and also the finalizing of extra pages such as acknowledgments, about the author section, foreword and introduction.
All up, the pre-press phase which also includes a final edit and grammar/spell check will take about the same amount of time as your manuscript development. Final preparation for printing will also include some contacts with experts in your field who can review your book and provide endorsements and testimonial comments to be put on the front and back covers – this is sometimes a lengthy part of pre-press, but well worth doing as it can mean the difference between selling lots of books or a few.