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
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Publishing a Book Yourself in these 10 Steps Can Make You Feel Like Superman

By Deborah S. Nelson, Author-Book Coach-Speaker

Steps 6–10 of Publishing a Book Yourself

Thinking of publishing a book yourself? Bravo! I urge you to do it. There is nothing like experiencing the exhilaration of being a published author. But before you begin, get a clue. Publishing a book yourself isn’t that hard! But, publishing a book yourself isn’t that easy either. Get the facts.

As a publishing coach, I have led writers through the self-publishing process to publish 100+ books. The steps below make it easy to conceptualize the big picture of publishing a book yourself.


Step 6 Self-Publishing a BookClick Here for Your Self-Publishing ToolkitBOOK COVER

Create a concept which is a compelling graphic rendering of the idea of your book. Provide cover art or photo to a graphic designer to design your cover. Hire a book cover designer using one of the online freelance services.

Be prepared with your concept, your cover photo, graphic, or image. Also, supply an author headshot for the back of the book. Supply a sales copy synopsis of the book, and a short author bio. You will need to offer the book cover template for the size of your book along with the estimated number of pages (to figure spine width), and the ISBN number assigned when you initiated your title in Step Five. Consider that your book cover may be an important piece and best done professionally when publishing a book yourself.

Step 7 Self-Publishing a BookINTERIOR DESIGN

Like building a home, your architect creates an outer design with components such as a front porch, entryway, terraces, patios, driveway, landscaping and the overall exterior of the home; which is compared to your cover design.

Once you enter the home or open the book, the interior design is clear. Selection of colors, floors, finishes, woodwork, windows are interior design components of a custom-built home. For the interior of your book, select the overall look and feel using fonts, font sizes, illustrations, images, headers, and subheads, dividers, photos, and footers, page numbers, and other graphic elements.

Is your book scholastic, non-fiction, playful, serious, fiction, dramatic, informative, professional, technical, or fantasy-like? Create the look, feel, and tone that you want to convey in the interior of your book. Supply the designer (choose a specialist to avoid nightmares) the IBN for the copyright, all front and back matter, body, and chronological order. The Once Upon a Book Video Series outlines the ten basic steps of how to self-publish a book.

Step 8 How to Self-Publish a BookSUBMIT FILES

Submit interior and cover files for approval.

Once you upload these completed files, submit for approval by the print on demand company. These files most often are required to be in the form of a “print ready PDF.” Files in this format are widely accepted by most print on demand companies and will result in a high quality output. Be sure and insist to the cover and interior designer that all components be at least 300 dpi and that all be exported to a print quality PDF. This is the technical part of publishing a book yourself. Get help from professionals to be sure your files are built to specifications, or they may be rejected by the printing company.

Step 9 of Self-Publishing a BookPROOFREADING

Once your files are approved for printing, order a physical proof. Do not skip this step. So far you have been looking at digital files. A physical proof will show things undetected on the computer screen. Be sure to hire a professional proofreader make a last check for typos, spacing, punctuation, missing and duplicate words.

Hire a specialist from E-lance.com or Freelance.com. If you know someone who does proofreading for a living you want to hire them instead. Be sure to choose a style manual for them to use as the basic of their corrections, as there are many ways to proofread and make corrections on a book, and they are not all in agreement. This is as much an art as it is a science. Consistency is the name of the game, and using a style manual for proofreading and editing will get the most accurate corrections and consistency possible. Professional proofreading is of the most important steps in publishing a book yourself for getting a professional look and feel.

Step 10 of Self-Publishing a Book PUBLISH

Once the proofread is complete, make corrections to your interior file and upload the corrected interior file to your print on demand account. Submit “publish.” With a print on demand account, you won’t need to buy an inventory of books. Order 1 or more books and your POD company prints them as ordered. Congratulations! You are a published author! BRAVO! If you would like a publishing consultation Deborah S. Nelson, offers them for $20 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

See the following articles: How to Market a Self-Published Book | Top 7 Self-Publishing Questions Answered | Self-Publishing Companies to Avoid

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

For Your Writing & Publishing Dreams