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Self-publishing a Music Teacher Education Book from the Editing Stage to the Proofing Stage

This is the second in a 3-part series about self-publishing. Here is Part 1 and 3.

Back in July of this year, I posted about my adventures with writing and self-publishing a music teacher education book up to the editing stage in hopes to help you start your book endeavor or to make things easier for you when you do decide to begin. This time I am going to be sharing with you my adventures with this book up to the Proofing Stage. This post will begin with where the last one left off—after the editing stage. Here are the things that I’ve learned in this phase:

Have you every thought about publishing your very own non-fiction book? This post gives you step-by-step instructions on how to self-publish your book from the editing stage right through to to proofing stage.

1. I know way less about grammar than I thought

  1. Up until this point, I thought that there was one dash to rule them all like in Lord of The Rings. Now, you’re probably thinking, “what do you mean?” As it turns out, there are three:

  2. The hyphen (-) used to link conjunctions or words representing a single idea (for example: Two-measure phrase).

  3. The en dash (–), you know, the one that MS Word defaults to when you type ‘space-dash-space.’ It is used in the place of the word “to.” For example, when you are giving ranges 15–20, an en dash with no spaces is the proper dash to use.

  4. The em dash (—) can be used in place of a colon, a comma, or a bracket all to a slightly different effect. All this time I thought the hyphen was the only one and used it for everything. Most of the issue is that there is no way to generate an em dash as there is no dedicated key on any standard keyboard. There is also no easy way to make it in a word processor so I had to copy and paste an em dash from the internet after searching “em dash” in Google.

  5. Numbers one through nine should be written out, the rest should be numbers. I always believed to be consistent or to follow the mantra of spelling out every number to get my word count up. Apparently this is not true—only numbers one to nine should be written out.

  6. Setup vs. set up: I didn’t even catch this until my last proof-read. Setup is a noun, set up is a verb. I used them in the right context naturally for the most part without really thinking about it. It’s the difference between someones guitar setup and someone helping you set up.

2. Hire a professional editor

There were sections of the book where I knew what I was saying and thought that I clearly and concisely expressed them. My amazing editor caught everything that I didn’t about my own writing and expressed what I was trying to say in those sections, but better. There were other parts of the book that I felt were weak but didn’t know how else to portray those ideas. My editor knew exactly how. My lesson? Don’t do the copy-editing and proofreading yourself. Get a professional—it will be worth the money.

3. Formatting and layout design for your book takes just as long as the editing

I had originally thought about hiring out for my book interior layout but ended up using MS Word to do it all. Some words of wisdom—do not do any formatting until your book is complete and save often when you do start. I had begun to do some of the formatting earlier on and pressed a button that rendered all previous formatting pointless. And it could not be undone. I have no idea why. I had to start all over with the formatting. To avoid this, experiment with formatting in a different file.

The heading features in Microsoft Word can be customized to fit your book’s feel. Using the headings feature will also allow you to create a table of contents with one click. Super handy.

4. Interior layout can be done using MS Word

It took a bit of experimenting but I did all of my interior design on Microsoft Word. You can too! Make sure you follow the guidelines from wherever will be doing your printing. Createspace gives you all of their recommendations for layout so that it is approved for printing. Take a look at other Music Teacher books you might have for design ideas.

5. Don’t use the wrong font

There are two basic families of fonts: Serif, and Sans-serif. They basically mean “letters with fancy ends on them,” and “no fancy ends.” The serif fonts are common in books. Examples of serif fonts are: Times New Roman, Cambria, or Book Antiqua. Chances are if you open a book right now it will be in a serif style font. Many of these fonts date back to the dawn of the printing press and are widely used for their readability on paper. Sans-serif fonts can be used in books too but are less common. Examples of sans-serif fonts are: Helvetica, Calibri, or Trebuchet. On top of this, there are some fonts that are designed for a screen as opposed to paper and fonts that work better for headings and signs as opposed to a body of text. Fonts can be downloaded from the internet for free and installed to MS Word which is pretty handy. If you have your cover designed already, try and use some of the fonts from that to keep it consistent.

Heading fonts should be different from your body text fonts but you need to make sure they flow well together. Chapter titles should be different too. As mentioned, take a look at some other music teacher books and copy some of their design ideas. I used the following fonts in my book:

  1. Matiz for chapter titles and Impact for the chapter numbers along the side.

  2. Century Gothic for all chapter introductions.

  3. League Gothic for all headings (also used on the cover).