Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Organizing Your Book

by M. J. Joachim

Life has a natural flow to it, where things seem to gently go along, following the course they are meant to travel. Sometimes there’s a glitch or bump in the road, but for the most part, the journey is steadfast and sure, pointing to a direct destination, regardless of the twists and turns it takes to make it there.

So it is with your book. There’s an easy button for it - a natural path that makes perfect sense. The formula is pre-written. Some things must happen before other things will ever make sense. You can’t have someone die, without having that same person live first. You can’t make a conclusion with nothing to base it on.

When you organize your book, the first thing you must do is write it. You must get your scrambled thoughts out, before you can fine tune them to make sense of them for your readers. Organizing your book takes place during the writing process, but it is also a very necessary part of the editing process. 

Your Table of Contents is one of the last things you should write, in my opinion. There’s a reason for this, of course. If it doesn’t flow smoothly in the Table of Contents, it sure won’t be natural in the final draft of the book. By putting the Table of Contents together in the later stages of preparing your book for publication, you can easily catch that seemingly minor misplacement of chapters, that interrupts the overall flow of your book. 

Speaking of the later stages of preparing your book…

They often take longer than the actual writing of it, because it’s in those later stages that writers must proofread, paying attention to every little detail. No detail is too small or insignificant. It’s not just about catching typos. This is about rewriting paragraphs, rewording things that could easily read so much better, if you take the time to rack your brain and push your limits. It’s also about deleting things you might really like, but in all matters of publishing a professionally prepared manuscript, don’t do anything for what you’ve written. (It could be an emotional attachment, something you might be better off sharing on your blog, as opposed to including in your book.)

Organizing your book is a big deal, and it takes time. It’s not something you slap together after you’ve put so many hours into writing your book. It’s something you work hard at and strive to achieve, because how you organize your book matters to your readers, even though they aren’t judging your organization skills, which is why organizing your book should be seamless, appear effortless, because you took the necessary time, toiled over the absolute correct placement of each and every chapter, each and every paragraph in each and every chapter, each and every word placement…

It truly does matter, and it can be the difference between a great book and an okay book. Here’s to lots of great books! There are plenty of okay books already out there.

Happy reading and writing everyone!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Lamp Flow Chart, Booyabazooka & Wapcaplet, GNU Free Documentation License