This will be a short lesson, but a very important one. There are two very important dynamics to publishing that are involved in both self publishing and brick and mortar publishing that you should be aware of. When writing any book, the author is responsible primarily for content, nothing else. So it's important for the issue of quality control for the author to have oversight in two areas before continuing into the marketing stages of the book. The first area is Editing, and the second is PR.
Get an Editor
Editors are extremely important, which goes without stating, but there are probably some nuances that you are not aware of when it comes to the editing process. Before any grammar checking is carried out, or anything like that, it's important for an author to get in contact with a Substantive Editor. Having an outside look on your characters by someone who is a trained professional in things like continuity and things like that is important. Not only that, these kinds of editors can help finish a book, create conflict in a book, and generally make the story more cohesive and interesting. Needless to say, they are very important. After this step you should find a Mechanical Editor, which is the kind that takes care of all your bugs and spell checking. It is important to be aware of the fact, however, that these kinds of editors will not be responsible for designing the book. You'll have to find a designer for those purposes, and I highly discourage any authors attempting to take the helm of designing their own book. It's a disaster waiting to happen. The reason why, is that the author has no outside perspective on their material, and without one, the design job won't make sense, nor will it look good.
Get an Agent
Agents are important. Either self publishing or going straight to the brick and mortar company involve connections, consulting, or some variable of familiarity with the industry. Agents can help introduce a novice writer into this world, or at least speak on behalf of the writer. The good thing about agents are that they are paid solely based off of what you make, so if your material sucks then obviously you will be wanting of agents. There are usually flat fees just to see an agent however, so be mindful of that expense. My boss also happens to wear the hat of an agent, and rightly so. Agents know how to get inside companies to spread around your material. They also are aware of how to publish a book at the right time, or build a market base for you, or consult you on how to go about attracting one. I will go on about marketing in a latter lesson. Suffice to say however, it should only be your agent who does these things if you are lucky enough to have one. They are just more experienced.
So that's it. Pretty short. These are more cautionary tips than anything else. Do with them as you will! Otherwise I shall see you next Tuesday.