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The Invisible Book Chain: An Overview of the Publishing Process

Ryan McGuire

You write your proposal or manuscript.

You or your agent submits your book.

Your editor likes it enough to do a proposal to buy it.

An editor-in-chief or editorial board decides whether to buy it and for how much.

You sign a contract and receive the first part of your advance against royalties.

If you sold your book with a proposal, you write your book.

Your editor edits your manuscript.

You respond to your editor’s suggestions.

Your editor accepts your manuscript.

You receive the second part of your advance.

Your editor sends your manuscript to the production department, so it can be published simultaneously in print, and as an ebook and audio book.

The production department copyedits your manuscript.

You respond to your copyeditor’s comments.

The art department creates or outsources the interior design  and the cover for a paperback and ebook or the hardcover jacket.

In a series of launch meetings, your editor and the sales, marketing, publicity, and advertising departments:

• position your book on  one of your publisher’s seasonal lists

• create a trade and consumer-marketing plan

• choose the print, broadcast, and electronic trade and consumer media to carry out the plan

• prepare sales materials for sales conferences.

Throughout the rest of the process, your agent and your publisher try to sell subsidiary rights.

Your publisher will print advance reading copies (ARCs) and send them to early reviewers and for cover quotes. 

Your book and the plans for it are presented to the sales reps.

Sales reps sell your book to on- and offline bookstores, distributors, wholesalers, specialty stores, warehouse clubs, and mass-market distributors;  and to school, college, and public libraries.

Your publisher’s education department sells books  with adoption potential.

Your publisher’s special-sales department tries sells bulk orders for books with premium and bulk-sales potential.

The production department arranges to print your book, based on pre-orders.

Your publisher’s warehouse receives books from the printer, ships orders, and later receives returns.

Your publisher’s advertising and publicity departments:

• do prepublication promotion

• send out review copies of your book.

Your book is published and has a brief launch window in which you and your publisher try to generate sales momentum with publicity, reviews, promotion, reading groups, and traditional and social media.

Readers learn about your book in a bookstore, in a library, from on- and offline media, a reading group, a review, or a friend. They read it, love it, and tell others they must read it.

Your publisher promotes your book for as long as sales justify it.

You promote your book for as long as you want it to sell.

Reprint meetings decide when to:

• reprint and how many copies

• sell or remainder part or all the stock if sales are too low

• make your book available in a print-on-demand edition

• put your book out of print

at which time you can ask for the rights back and republish it.

You write the proposal or manuscript for your next book.


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thank you so much

August 29, 2018