In this article, we will be presuming that you will be using a print-on-demand service to produce a physical book. If you have used a good system for writing your a course in miracles, you will already know what forms your finished book will take. Although, of course, if you are using a traditional publisher, you may have to rethink your decisions.
Your first task after finishing writing is to have the book edited. You should always use another person — preferably a professional editor — to edit your book. If you are using a good system you will already have performed a structural edit. All you will have to do is a proof edit… in other words, check the spelling and grammar. If on the other hand, you haven’t used a good system, you will need to perform a structural edit. That means you may still have to rewrite your book. A structural edit looks at the underlying structure of your organization and may suggest that you rewrite.
Once you have a fully edited and finished book, you need to prepare it for publication. This may involve outsourcing to a book designer. A book designer will typically provide a better cover design and perhaps interior design than you can provide on your own. Many of the print-on-demand book printers have taken a leaf from the vanity press market and now provide that service.
If you don’t use a book design service, you will need to first select the template you will use for your book. In some ways, we are presuming that you have used a good writing system. If not then you will need to identify and select your print-on-demand book printer and the format of your book first. All of the print-on-demand printers provide templates for their books. Your first interest is in the interior design template.
Once you have that template, then you need to convert your manuscript to fit the template. If you are using Microsoft Word (which most do) then the easiest method is to use the template and copy your manuscript to the template.
Now you’re ready for the cover design. You need to pick your design. There are several ways to do this. You also need to write your front and back cover copy. This is the writing that appears on the two covers to help sell your book. You then need to use the appropriate cover template to create a cover.
Before you can finish your cover and your interior you will need to obtain an ISBN. The ISBN is an international identifier and bar code which is used to identify your book. Think UPC for grocery items. The ISBN is a UPC for books. Each country maintains a registry of ISBNs for books published in their country. Note that published and printed are not the same thing.
The ISBN registry for your country typically sells ISBNs in blocks to publishers. The print-on-demand printer may have a service that can sell you a single ISBN. Or your ISBN registry may sell individual numbers. Before buying a number from the printer check your country’s register as some may not allow the resale of numbers. In order to sell you a number the publisher of record may need to be your print-on-demand printer which may affect your plans for the book.
The ISBN and its bar code will need to be added to the cover of your book and also to the publishing declaration page within the book itself. This is the page that talks about copyrights and publication data and the cataloging-in-publication data.