Learn the Process of Publishing a Book

Creative & Empowering Process of Publishing a Book

By Deborah S. Nelson

How to Publish a Book: The Process of Publishing a Book

The Process of Publishing a Book

The process of publishing a book comes up again and again from clients and students. Years ago I worked in a major publishing house, and for the past 5 years I have passionately dedicated 6 days a week to self-publishing! As a publishing coach and instructor, I am excited to answer this question: What is the process of publishing a book? As always, if you find this information valuable please share what you appreciate on your favorite social media option above.

Keep in mind I have outlined these steps for the process of publishing with a broad brush stroke for simplification. Some of these action steps are actually implemented at the same time, but this is the general order for the process of publishing a book.

Publishing is not Just Printing!

Step One–The Manuscript: Find, write, and contract the work. You will need this manuscript in the form of a Word Document. If the publisher is a traditional one, you will be asked to sign their contract. If you are self publishing your own book, I suggest you sign An Intent to Publish Agreement with yourself. These contracts and agreements serve to create deadlines, and definition of royalties and goals for the publishing of the book.

Editoring services for self-published books

Editorial Steps in the Process of Publishing a Book

Step Two–Editorial Process:  The publisher, self-publisher, or publishing coach will direct the first content editing, copy editing, and proofreading of the manuscript. Assign these three separate tasks in that order, since doing them in the wrong order will require extra work. This part of the process will include identifying and obtaining permissions, credits for illustrations and photos, as well creating front matter such as table of contents, title pages, copyright pages, interior images, along with front and back matter. To find out more about what needs to be included in a book, read my article What are the Parts of a Book?

Step Three–Interior Layout & Design: Your edited and polished manuscript will next go to a graphic artist. An interior book designer will create the book layout required by the printing company. This final layout is often called galleys and will go through another round of copy editing and proofreading later. Final corrections are sent back to layout artist for corrections to prepare for printing.

Steps in the Process of Publishing a Book: The Book Cover

The Book Cover: A  step in the Process of publishing a Book

Step Four–The Book Cover: The book cover includes a front cover and a back cover. For the back cover, this process involves an author headshot, author bio, and sales synopsis of the book. The front cover will include the title, subtitle, and author name and an intriguing graphic. The name of a book in a traditional publishing company setting is normally decided in meetings with the marketing department and editorial department. The title and subtitle of a book in self-publishing is sometimes done by the author, or by the author and publishing coach, or publicity agent. The title and book cover are of supreme importance in book sales. For more information on creating a cover see, Judging Book Covers: How to Design a Compelling Book Cover.

Step Five–Registering the Book Title: The book will be assigned an ISBN by the publishing company, or independent publisher, or the print on demand company, depending on how the book is being published. Additionally, the ISBN is associated with the title, subtitle, and author of the book. Once completed, this cannot be changed, except for initiating the process all over again, and purchasing another ISBN number. You will also create the copyright page with this information along with other credits to include in the front matter of the book.

Step Five–Print the Book: If printing is done by a traditional publisher, a first run of books are ordered and printed. There may be some a print check to be sure the cover is being printed in the right color range. If done at a print on demand company digital files will be submitted after a hard copy proof approval.

Step Six: Distribution & Marketing: If distribution of your book will be handled through a traditional publishing house, you will likely be assigned a publicity manager who will schedule media interviews and book signings to launch the new book. If the book is self published this will involve setting up an online shopping cart, often through Amazon Books. This is a basic overview of the process of publishing a book. As always, if you find this information valuable please share what you appreciate on your favorite social media option above.

If you would like more detailed information you may also read the following articles:

Becoming a Publisher in 7 Strategic Steps
DIY Publishing: How to Publish a Book Yourself
The Steps to Publish a Book–Part 1
Steps to Publish a Book–Part 2

Join Publishing SOLO: Get Your Free Self-Publishing Toolkit!Join Publishing SOLO
for Support, Structure & Accountability

For All Your Writing & Publishing Dreams

The Brave New World DIY Publishing!

How to Publish a book, Do-it-yourself books

DIY Publishing: Books on How to Publish Your Own Book

Are You Ready for DIY (Do-it-Yourself) Publishing?

We live in exciting times with DIY Do-It-Yourself Publishing) in the forefront. The printing press has given way to a whole new era of digital publishing. With print on demand, just one book is now printed affordably with digital printing. No longer is it necessary to partner with a publishing house who invests thousands in your book. Writers have the option of publishing a book themselves. Now, you too, can learn how to self publish a book.

Click Here for Your Free Self-Publishing Toolkit

Advantages of DIY Publishing

The advantages of DIY publishing include the ability to publish without rejection, retain ownership of copyrights, exercise creative control, and sell books online without maintaining inventory. Read my article entitled: Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing,  for an in-depth discussion of the benefits of DIY publishing.

DIY Publishing and Self publishing difficult to learn

Steep Learning Curve with Do-It-Yourself Publishing

The Challenges of DIY Publishing

One challenge with DIY Publishing is how to sell your books. If you are not attached to making income from book sales, you may increase your income through speaking, consulting, and coaching, if your book is career related.

One of the most difficult aspects of self-publishing is how little people know. “You don’t know, what you don’t know.” describes many writer novices in the self-publishing process. The learning curve of digital publishing is steep for some. Do as much homework as possible to get educated. This website provides tools, tips, courses, resources, and do-it-yourself books on do-it-yourself publishing! Ask questions and do homework to get organized before launching your self-publishing project. Learn what self-publishing is about.

It certainly is not just printing your book. Self-publishing is the role the writer plays to get his/her book through the publishing process. This includes many phases of preparation to prepare the book for the printing phase. Read our Dictionary of Self Publishing Terms. When you are your own publisher, you are like a general contractor building a custom home. You will be negotiating, managing, directing, hiring, haggling, paying, and establishing schedules and deadlines for subcontractors who build many different aspects of your book.

Three Phases of Book Publishing

As a DIY self-publisher, one of the most important first steps you will need to do is set up a budget for your book project. You face many decisions at many levels. This will vary widely, but if you wish to find out more about self-publishing costs, you may find the article entitled “Real Self-Publishing Costs to Publish a Book,” on this site. I go into detail of the various choices you will make. Many of these choices will be similar to picking out different finishing touches such as tile, counters, woodwork, paint, and floors in a custom build home. Some of these choices are very extravagant, and others are practical. Setting a budget ahead of time will keep you  focused on a reasonable standard for making these choices all along the way.

Designing the Book Cover

One thing you might want to spend a little more of your budget on is the book cover. This is probably the single most important visual aspect in book publishing. The three main phases of book publishing are editorial, book cover design, and interior layout. I have written a detailed article covering those three main phases, each which are further divided into three phases. This is a general overview of self publishing steps so that you may understand whether you are a candidate for DIY publishing. Sign up for our free self-publishing toolkit at the top right section of our website if you are ready to get started on your dream to publish a book,. Becoming a published author is one of the most exhilarating experiences of a lifetime. If you have a passion to write, share your writing, and are ready to enter the brave new world of digital publishing, I urge you to do so. Let me know if I can help. Meanwhile you might want to join our site, and pick up the free self-publishing toolkit.

Publishing SOLO Print on Demand Tool kit for self-publishing a book yourselfJoin Publishing SOLO
for Support, Structure & Accountability

For All Your Writing & Publishing Dreams

Book Blueprint–Steps to Publishing a Book

Self Publishing a Book with Digital Publishing

By Deborah S. Nelson

Learn how to publish a book by actually doing it with the Book Blueprint, the ultimate in creativity.

Learn how to publish a book by actually doing it with the Book Blueprint, the ultimate in self-publishing creativity.

Like photography, music, and almost all of the creative publishing industries book publishing is moving from traditional publishing to digital publishing. Do you download songs from the Internet and listen to them on an electronic device? Have you ever bought sheet music online and printed it from your printer? Likewise with photos. If you are a publisher, writing a blog, or putting up an online magazine, you can go to a photo site and buy the best photo to illustrate your work. These are all examples of how the music and photography industries have been transformed by digital publishing.

Independent Book Publishing-Steps to Publishing a Book

Many people dream to publish a book but do not have the time or the know-how. Once out of reach of ordinary people, self-publishing a book is finally attainable through employing print on demand and digital graphics. Inspired and energetic self-published authors are creating best sellers and making real incomes. Once an industry moves into the digital age, the learning curve is steep for everyone, which levels the playing field. This makes it the perfect time to enter the industry, as the opportunity for success increases dramatically.


The Book Blueprint and Self-Publishing

The Book Blueprint was invented by Deborah S. Nelson to simplify the digital publishing process and to make publishing a book a creative and fun adventure. Similar to a blueprint for building a home, the book blueprint helps you to conceive and plan the entire book publishing project. As the self-publisher of your own book, you are taking on the role of general contractor, which is similar to building your own home.  Therefore the blueprint analogy works very well to help you understand the role of “publisher/general contractor” in the book publishing process. One of the most important basics to recognize before you take on the project of publishing your own book is to know that publishing is not synonymous with printing!  Do not confuse the two. As Publisher, you will select on the printer you will use to print your book. Publishing encompasses far more than simply printing the book. Just as building a house encompasses far more that putting on the roof, be aware that there is much more preparation that needs to be completed before printing your book.

Authors, Share Your Book with Millions of Readers

How the Book Blueprint Works

With the book blueprint, you learn by doing. The book blueprint curriculum comes in various forms, depending on your comfort level. Publishing a book blueprint does not require your completed manuscript. In fact, it is better if your manuscript is not completed because you can formulate how your book will look, flow, and feel with the book blueprint. When your book blueprint is complete, you will have an overall understanding of the steps involved with digital publishing as well a visual concept of your book project. Use this as the planning phase and the creative structure for your book project-Parts of a Published Book.

One of the first things I recommend to writers who come to me with their published manuscript is that now that their book is written, they are finished with phase 1.  Phase Two begins the publishing process and phase Three is the marketing aspect. In Phase Two, the preparation for publishing begins. Once you have written your book, you are actually not quite finished with the writing. Just like laying a foundation to build a home, you must lay the foundation for printing your book. The Introduction, Title Page, Acknowledgements, Copyright Page, Preface, Foreword, Table of Contents, About the Author, Resources, End Notes and Footnotes, Illustrations, Ads for Author Services and other books by the same author, are only some of the components that need to be carefully prepared prior to printing your book. In addition, you’ll need a very attractive book cover. The book cover includes the front cover and a back cover. On the back cover you will need an author headshot, author bio, and compellingly written synopsis of your book! Furthermore, you will need a final marketable title, a subtitle, an ISBN number, and a BISAC code.

The book blueprint conveniently defines and orders the parts of a book in proper chronological order. The book blueprint course or book walks you through the digital publishing steps one at a time. When you are finished with your book blueprint, you will have an ISBN number, a book title set up in your own print on demand account, and of course you’ll have a copy of your book blueprint with a journal-style interior. This interior will allow you to fill in the blanks as you complete your book. If your manuscript is already completed, you simply use the journal to complete the other pieces including the front matter and the back matter. The Table of Contents will also help you to organize or reorganized the flow of your book.

You are the Architect of Your Self-Published Book

As the self-publisher or independent publisher of your own book, you are the architect of your book. You earn the freedom to select the cover design, and to create the interior elements, design and images of your book. You own all of your copyrights and do not share the royalties with the printer, publisher, agent, or any one else, except for perhaps the online bookseller, such as Amazon, or other bookseller organizations. You will also be responsible for marketing your book, which is yet another phase. The amazing and wonderful aspect of publishing your own book is the potential for synergistic creatively throughout the project. You are the architect of your own book!

See these Related Articles:

Important Self-Publishing Items to check
DIY Book Publishing Basics
DIY Book Publishing versus Traditional Publishing
Create Your Own Book Cover Template

publish my

Have a Dream to Publish a Book—

But Lack the Time or Know-How?

Look no further. This potent learn-by-doing guide grants you the time and know-how. Learn to how to self-publish a book by doing it! Once you become a published author friends, family, and peers will see you in a whole new light! This unique new system guides and propels both aspiring and seasoned authors step-by-step through the digital publishing process. You won’t even need your completed manuscript to start!
Includes a downloadable interior template
Displays parts of a book in chronological order
Gives 10 easy steps to print on demand publishing
Sets up free ISBN number & self-publishing account
Gets a blueprint published in 3 days! (shipping extra)


Just What is Digital Publishing, Anyway?

Definition of Digital Publishing Terms

By Deborah S. Nelson, Author/Publisher Publishing SOLO & VRTG

Digital publishing is a new and developing term. Breaking it down into two main areas, digital publishing is a technical method; and in the general sense, a new arena of publishing. It is often referred to as a digital publishing platform. It is important to note the difference between digital printing and digital publishing. Publishing is when information or creative works are made widely available to the public. Digital printing can refer to the type of printing method or equipment used to make the works available.

To simplify the technical aspect of what digital publishing is, the standard publishing method uses the printing press. The printing press employs an inking systems with a roller that presses the ink onto paper. The printing press is costly to set-up and normally requires large printing runs to make the individual pieces cost-effective. That’s where digital printing has the advantage, and has become widespread in the 21st century. For example, in book publishing just one book is printed via a digital file which defines the set up. With the printing press, expensive (and time-consuming to produce) plates must be painstakingly created for each color printed.

From a technical point of view, relatively easily produced art files are completed using publishing software such as In Design, Quark Express, and other graphic design software that allows a book or printed materials to be accurately and specifically produced to a digital printer’s specifications.

Digital Publishing is the New Pen and Ink

The digital publishing arena loosely covers many areas, from sheet music production (downloadable), online comic books, digital book publishing, You Tube, podcasts, ebooks, Kindle books,  newspaper and magazine publishing; and even video games are included in the realm of digital publishing.  Digital publishing platforms can refer to electronic publishing companies such as Createspace, Smashwords, Kobo, and Kindle, who give the ability to publish and market and ship books and ebooks online.

The Internet has basically become the new paper, and the computer keyboard has become the new ink. Some digital publishing will refer to a physical copy printed using the digital printing method; and other digital publishing will refer to information transmitted through the Internet via a digital media venue.

Ready, Set, Go!

Boost your earning power & social currency by becoming a published book author in record time.


publish my

Do You Dream to Publish a Book—
But Lack the Time or Know-How?
Look no further. This powerful learn-by-doing guide grants you the time and know-how. Learn to publish a printed book in 3 days by actually doing it! Once you become a published author, your friends, family, and peers will see you in a whole new light! This unique new system teaches both aspiring and seasoned authors every step of the self-publishing process. You won’t even need your completed manuscript to get startedThis Book Blueprint system:
Includes a downloadable interior template
Displays parts of a book in chronological order
Gives 10 easy steps to print on demand publishing
Sets up free ISBN number and self-publishing account
Gets your blueprint published in 3 days! (shipping extra)


Want to learn how to publish a book in 3 days?