Book Completion Checklist

(A long but not exhaustive list of steps.)

Get idea.

Research idea.

Write idea. (Step is interspersed with more research and requires frequent doses of caffeine.)

Complete rough draft.

Yes, all of it, including the outlined fight scenes that are making you want to beat your own head in.

Find a good title, if the placeholder doesn’t fit anymore.

Edit draft. At least three major run-throughs.

Polish draft.

Format book. Save a “base draft” to make corrections to as you inevitably find other typos/missing bits.

-For Paperback: Use a template made from previous books where you worked out all the finicky page sizing and headers.

Check all the line spacing is the same. (At least 1.1 point between lines looks good.)

Check the first line of each paragraph is indented 0.25”.

Adjust text lengths to fill each page, by breaking paragraphs if necessary.

Table of Contents if needed.

Index if needed.

Edit, check for page numbers, headers, overall “look”.

Write back cover blurb. Polish.

Acquire book cover.

Determine keywords for listing book.


Get Library of Congress Number.

-For Kindle: Format according to most recent specs. Use cover already acquired.

Submit completed books to Amazon, set price.


Get paperback copies – at least 2 for the Library of Congress.


…Fall over.

Start work on editing the next book draft.

Start writing a new draft.



6 thoughts on “Book Completion Checklist

    1. In fairness, steps of this sort of list can be looked at as skills or skillsets. Getting better at a mental skill can result in getting faster. And getting fast at early skills helps you progress through material until you can use it to practice the later step skills.

      The problem is that ‘step one: get idea’ has a lot of hidden complexity, informed by final state, and the idea of maxing out your ‘level’ of early step skills before learning the late step skills does not work.

      Basically, the number of possible ideas is much bigger than the number than would be good ideas if fully implemented. This can be proven with a bridge example. Imagine a bridge with four lanes on a slab of concrete. If two lanes on one side are supported by a truss structure, and two lanes on the other are supported by a suspension structure, most of the ways you could do that are bad. The mismatch between the structures will cause different motions, and the slab will crack.

      So, if you want to reliably deliver product based on new ideas, step one is generating a lot of ideas, and judging them. You may find yourself writing down a bunch of ideas you never use, because of the work you put into the most promising ideas. But before then, you will be pushing a lot of poor ideas through to completion, because of honing that judgement.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. “Two paper copies for the Library of Congress.”

    …I’ve known, vaguely, about this for a long time, but I only now pause to wonder: Where do they *store* all those?

    Oh, Google!

    Hm… I’m a bit disappointed. I was envisioning enormous caverns and Doomsday Bunkers packed with books in hermetically sealed containers. Instead, it’s much more prosaic:'s%20general,or%20are%20stored%20off%2Dsite.

    Liked by 3 people

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