New authors are often surprised by everything that must happen in order to turn the manuscript into a finished book, placing it into bookstores, and hopefully into the hands of readers.
Once an editor expresses interest and the author agrees, then comes the contract, establishing the duties and rights for both author and publisher, and then the editing begins.
You might be surprised to learn that there are three layers of editing. Development editors are looking at the bigger picture including the plot, the pace, and character development, working with the author as this often requires rewrites from the author. Then a line editor takes over, looking at the style, individual paragraphs, sentences, words, tightening the text to sharpen, and polish. Finally, there is copyediting and proofreading, which is focused on the smaller details: spelling, grammar, punctuation, and often continuity.
While the editing is progressing, we have already begun work on the title’s marketing and promotion plans. The first and most important marketing piece is the book cover. Ideally, book covers convey something of the story and use a design that stands out, sets a book apart on bookstores’ shelves. The author is usually involved in this process, but the publisher makes the final decision.
Once editing is done, the book goes to a designer, who will create a digital file and prepare it to go to the printer, and marketing and promotion continue. We print book samples to send for reviews in newspapers, magazines, and review journals, as well as mail to bookstores, and take to exhibit at conferences and book shows. Our publicist is continually looking for opportunities to feature the book and author in all kinds of media, both before and after publication. It’s important for the author to join in on promoting themselves and their book and raising interest even before the book’s release; often the most effective way is through social media.
Throughout this process, we post all the data to an online system that helps sales reps become acquainted with the book and that data will feed on all the online systems of booksellers. From there, we hope that sales representatives will be able to get the book onto bookstores’ shelves and into the hands of excited readers.