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What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Book

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Back in the day of traditional publishing, publishers would hand you the cover design and final edited manuscript of your book before it went to print, and that was that — your input on major editorial changes and cover design was not part of the process.

But in this age of author-driven publishing, it is.

So, what is the process, and how can your input mix with the expertise of your publisher to deliver a successful book?

Once you provide your manuscript to your publisher, the first step is content editing. In this phase, you and your editor exchange back-and-forth notes to make sure the flow of the message is strong.

Take time during this phase to glean every bit of expert advice from your editor and publisher as you can.

What is the best flow and organization of the chapters? Does any material need to be cut or better developed? What do they recommend for the book’s title and subtitle?

This is the phase in the editorial journey where you need to give the most input to your editor, as the manuscript you approve at the end of this phase will move rapidly through the rest of the process.

If you later decide you hate chapter 5, for instance, the book would need to return to content editing — which means more time and possibly more editorial charges. Make sure you’re confident of the manuscript you approve at the end of the content editing phase, as you don’t want to go backward on your journey.

Once you finalize the manuscript in content editing, your editor sends it on to copyediting. This is the polishing phase that makes the grammar and syntax shine.

Next, the book goes to typesetting and design before moving on to proofreading. At this point, your book will look like it’s about to be published. Any changes made here are limited to typos and typographical errors, as it’s about last-minute clean-ups that make the book squeaky clean and perfect.

Now, what about cover design? How does that get handled? Next time, I’ll explain the process and share how to be most effective in giving your input on the cover.

Image credit: katietower

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