Discussions about structure tend to offer formulas, though formulas often lead to formulaic stories. But an understanding of narrative structure is important: you have to know the rules before you break them.

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Excerpted from BookBaby's latest guide, 5 Steps To Self Publishing, Part I of our series addresses reasons to self-publish and the importance of professional editing.

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Your book's structure is the tool that will gather up your readers and keep them following along with you; it's the tie that binds all the parts of your story together, from end to end, and in the middle too.

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Most authors probably wish they had a gauge of some kind to stick into the pages to tell them when their book is done. It’s not just new, inexperienced writers who have that wish. Most published authors I’ve posed the question to say the same thing: it’s hard to know when to put down the virtual pen.

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Your first draft might be a brain dump, so it's on you to rid subsequent drafts of holes, sleeping pills and imposters. What's your Achilles' heel: tangential, rambling, or missing content?

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It’s the start of the new year – and it's finally time to write the book you've been thinking about. Except, you're not even sure how to start writing a book. If you dedicate yourself to the task, you can finish your book within a year.

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A brilliant book is easy to describe. That's good, because there are essential book descriptions that will factor into your chances for success.

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