The path to publishing a book via Traditional Publishing

Have you completed writing your book? Are you eagerly waiting to realize your lifelong dream of publishing your book? You are now at an important stage, that of finding a publisher.

What is the First Step, to publish a book, a Writer Needs to Take?

First, based on your goals, you need to decide which route to follow to publishing your book. You can choose between:

  • Traditional publishing
  • Self- publishing
  1. If you choose self-publishing, the route you follow will be different.
  2. If you choose to take the traditional publishing route, then you must acquaint yourself with the steps to publish a book that your manuscript will undergo. In this article, we will explain the steps to publish a book via the traditional publishing route.

What are the Steps a Writer Must take to Traditionally Publish a Book?

1. Choose your publisher and submit your manuscript:

The first step to publish a book is to get your manuscript ready for submission. You can send your manuscript to literary agents who will help get them discovered by a publisher. Alternatively, you can send the manuscript directly to the publisher as well.

  • Select a publisher that suits your book needs and follow their procedures:
  • You need to adhere to the guidelines given by the publisher: They may ask you to follow their standards for font, font size, word count, title page, page numbers, typesetting, etc.
  • Make sure the manuscript is free of typos. Use popular word processing programs to accept scripts like Microsoft Word, Scrivener or Google Docs.
  • If you have written fiction, then you need to synopsize each chapter. But if you have written non-fiction, you need to send a book proposal. The book proposal could include:
  1. Premise
  2. Elevator pitch
  3. Overview
  4. Target audience
  5. Chapter synopsis
  6. Marketing ideas
  7. Endorsements
  8. Your analysis of competing books
  9. Up to three sample chapters

2. Manuscript Review:

Once they have received your manuscript, the evaluators will decide whether the story plot/ genre/ content appeals to them or not. They have all the right to reject the manuscript if they do not feel that it has potential in the market.

If the manuscript is accepted, the reviewers will evaluate it further and give you suggestions. The chances are that they may ask you to revise the draft or a part of it. Follow their instructions and make the required changes,

3. Editing:

Editing takes place in two steps:

  • Developmental editing/Substantive editing: A developmental editor will be assigned for your script. The editor will perform thorough and in-depth editing of the whole manuscript. This includes each element of your writing, words to phrases to sentences, and finally, the overall structure and style. He or she will propose certain changes to you. The changes could be on any writing aspect, such as the word count, continuity errors, poor flow, structural problems, and so on. There may be many rounds going back and forth.
  • Copy-editing: After developmental editing comes copy-editing. A copy editor will ensure that the text in your manuscript is accurate in grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, etc. Aspects such as spelling, grammar, jargon, punctuation, terminology, semantics and formatting will be checked. The editor will ascertain that the story/content flows smoothly and is easy to comprehend. Any potential legal issues regarding factual data will be brought to your attention.
  • Proof-reading: Proof-reading is a process that takes care of minor grammatical errors or other typos in the draft. The publisher may provide in-house proofreading. Alternatively, you can also carry out this step by yourself, or through a freelancer.

4. Cover design and printing:

Cover designing and printing process begin now. Similar to proofreading, the cover design can either be done in-house or by a freelance designer. The production manager liaises with the designers to ensure that the design suits the book’s concept and the market. You may be asked to provide your inputs.

Apart from the cover design, some critical aspects such as the book layout, book illustration, copyright, book interior design, typesetting etc. need to be taken care of

5. Production:

The production team arranges the printing and delivering of the final product to the warehouse. Here, the type of printing is decided, that is, whether to print on demand or offset printing.

Decisions are made regarding the type of cover (Hardcover or Paperback), texture (matt, or glossy), and binding (saddle stitch, perfect bound).

They will also decide on the book format for e-books and audiobooks. For e-books the popular formats are epub, Mobi and pdf. For an audiobook, the popular formats are mp3 and WMA.

6. Distribution and sales:

After the book is published, it may be launched formally and distributed to various platforms for sale. There are many platforms available. Some of these are:

  • Websites as Amazon, Flipkart, etc.
  • Publisher’s website
  • Traditional bookstores
  • Libraries.

7. Marketing:

The marketing team starts work at the editorial stage when the team contemplates whether to take up the book for publishing. The marketing team has a role to play at the production stage when it is being decided how the book has to look to compete in the market. The marketing department and a book’s marketing budget determine if, where and when a book will be promoted.

Remember, traditional publishers, bear most of the risk. They take on the cost of editing, proofreading, typesetting, printing, binding, cover art and design, warehousing, shipping, billing, and paying author royalties. Marketing of the book will primarily be the authors’ responsibility, though the publishers will help out. If any publisher asks for money to publish your book, it no longer remains a traditionally published book but becomes a self-published book.

Whether you choose a traditional publishing deal or self-publish, put your best foot forward in writing your book.