If you’re a writer, you may have wondered: What happens after the contract is signed?
Every publishing house is different. There are large publishers, indie presses, hybrid publishers, vanity presses, and a whole slew of other styles of publishers out there. It’s likely that I will one day do a post breaking these down for you, but for today, let’s focus on how we at Mirror World do things.
We’re a small, independent, traditional-style, publishing house. What I mean by that is we’re sized to be able to comfortably publish three to five books a year, with a small staff of three people plus volunteers and contractors. We’re owned by private individuals (myself and Murandy Damodred) and we do pretty much everything in house, and we’re not say, an imprint of a larger publishing house. We also don’t charge our authors for any part of the publishing process and we pay them royalties as per a contract that is signed with them at the time of acceptance of their manuscript.
So, in our style of company, after a manuscript is accepted for publication, the first step is that a timeline is established. Looking at what other books we have slated for the year and at the schedules of our staff, I work out who would be best to work on the various stages of the project and what would be a reasonable deadline for them. There are a lot of little steps, but here are the main ones:
1. First Round Edit
Keep in mind, we already read the manuscript through once as part of the submission process, but now the book will be assigned to an editor who will read it through (again, if they were the one to have acquired it.) In this pass, the editor is looking primarily for content-related edits. This includes, inconsistencies with plot, characters, description, or world-building as well as things that don’t make sense or made need more clarification. On the other end of the spectrum, it may also be to look for parts that drag or contain too much exposition in an effort to tighten up the story.
2. Beta Reading
Once the author has had a chance to make the changes suggested in round one, the updated manuscript is then sent to a team of three to five beta readers. (See my discussion on beta readers for more information on this part of the process) The beta readers’ notes are then forwarded to the author who then chooses what changes to make based on this feedback.
3. Line Edit
Once the author is satisfied with the changes made and has made the manuscript the best it can be, the editor makes one last pass through the story line by line and corrects all the grammar, spelling, punctuation, and anything else that may have gotten missed earlier.
4. Cover Art
While the above steps are taking place, I find a cover artist whose style reflects the book and the design for the cover that the author and I envision. While the editor and the author work on the content, the artist or designer creates the cover art.
5. Interior Formatting
When the line edit is finished the editor passes the manuscript on to me and I format it for e-book and paperback. This is also the point where any design elements such as chapter headings and page breaks are decided upon. I also gather and format all the necessary information for the interior such as the ISBN number, the author bio and photo, and the dedication.
6. Cover Layout
Once the interior format is complete and I know how many pages the final version of the book will be, I can design the book jacket. This is where the back of the book blurb is added, though it may have been created at any point earlier.
7. The Rest…
At some point early on in the process a marketing plan is developed and it is now that it is really put into action. We plan the details surrounding the launch, whether it will be in person or online only, we create a press kit and a press release, schedule a blog tour and decide where best to advertise and sell the books. We also order inventory and encourage the author to do the same so they can promote and sell the books in their hometown.
I hope that helps give you some idea of how we operate and what process a manuscript undergoes once we accept it. If you have any questions about the publishing process, or Mirror World in specific, make sure to leave them in the comments below and I’ll be sure to get to them!
And as you know, our most recent release, This Night Sucks is now available! You can follow the blog tour this week, or until the end of the month get the e-book ON SALE for only $0.99 in our store with the promo code: SUCKS