Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Proposal to Print Process

Here is a long "boring" list of the steps taken from proposed story idea to a book in print. Vickie McDonough suggested this might be of interest to you. I hope you find value in it.

- It all starts with authors (and agents) who are interested in working with us reading what we have published to get a feel for our style and studying our catalog and guidelines.
- Author creates a book proposal. Proposals generally consist of a cover letter, bio including writing experience, a book summary of a page or two, 3 of the first chapters, projected length, and reasons why the market needs your book. We prefer emailed submissions, and no longer accepted unsolicited proposals, especially through regular mail.
- Unpublished authors will nearly always need to submit a complete manuscript before we consider publishing.
- Most book ideas need to be discussed with the editorial team before we commit buy. This can be accomplished in one meeting, or the idea may need several discussions where more information may be requested from the author.
- We contract.
- We set the date we want the book to release to stores (or the book club) and give the author a deadline for turning in a final manuscript.
- Our production manager and managing editor help us get the book on the schedule by which the whole team plans and balances the workload of multiple books all going down the pipe at the same time.
- We ask the author for cover related information to be put into a template we’ve developed. We design a cover and get the book advertised in one of our 2 yearly catalogs (spring and fall).
- Also during the time while author is usually still writing, Marketing will likely request things like a one-page summary, an updated bio, endorsements discussion questions, etc.
- Promotional copy, including back cover copy, is written for sales and marketing use.
- The editor will often present the books to the sales team for selling to stores and other buyers well before having read the complete manuscript. Most of the sales reps will read the whole or part manuscript as soon as it is available.
- Manuscript arrives and editor reviews.
- Manuscript goes to a content editor who looks for problems with research facts or holes in plot and issues of continuity.
- Manuscript may go to the author for revisions or direct to copy edit.
- Manuscript goes to copyeditor who works on technical details of grammar and consults with the author on any extensive changes.
- First proofread by freelance proofreader done electronically.
- We check those changes.
- Typesetter put it into book format.
- Second proofread on hard copy by freelance proofreader.
- We check changes.
- Author reviews the galleys (ready for print copy) in hard copy or PDF form.
- We check suggested changes.
- We proofread cover before it is finalized.
- All final data is sent to the printer via electronic means. It will be at the printer around 2 months before a book is delivered to our warehouse.
- Author moves from working closely with the editor to now working more closely with the publicist on preparing for the book’s public release.


Carrie Turansky said...

Wow, That is a lot of steps! Thanks for the information. It helps me appreciate you all more!

Happy belated birthday, Becky. Hope you had a fun weekend and birthday celebration.

Erica Vetsch said...

This long list of steps is so helpful in realizing that it takes a team effort to get a book from idea to bookstore shelves and into the hands of readers.

Thank you for reminding us. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this! It sure helps to understand what exactly goes into a book.

Becky said...

Remember, of course, that these steps may vary from one publishing house to another.

Mary Connealy said...

What a list, Becky!
I'll go link my blog to this just so people can see what all goes into getting a book onto the shelves.

Mary Connealy said...

How do you like my new picture?

I think this particular pose takes YEARS off.

Mary Connealy said...

Oh, AND, sorry, don't mean to leave a zillion comments, but...

Barbour no longer accepts unsolicited proposals? Does that include HP?

I think I just told someone you do. I'd better correct that.

Myra Johnson said...

Thanks for the list, Becky! It's especially helpful since I'm a newbie Heartsong Presents writer and my mss. are at various stages along that journey.

I agree with Erica--it's a great reminder that bringing a book from idea to publication is truly a team effort.

Vickie McDonough said...

Thanks for posting this list, Becky. It's helpful to see each step, even though I've been through each one before.

I hope you had a wonderful birthday!

Anonymous said...

Please clarify that you only accept proposals from agents now.

Thanks for your time.