Submission to Shelf

Can you describe the publishing process--from the time the author submits a manuscript until it shows up on the bookstore shelves?

Geez, you want a book! And this is a blog. But okay, I'm game. Here it is in a nutshell. (Some of these items are done concurrently--for example, cover design and promo plans are developed while author is doing rewrites, etc.)

Manuscript arrives on editors desk, where it sits to wait its turn to be read.

Editor reads manuscript and likes it.

Editor sends it to company readers and gets analysis back.

Editor creates a proposal for the book which includes things like a profit and loss estimate, marketing hooks, why the company should publish it, etc., etc.

Editor has meeting with various departments and they yell and scream and throw things at each other until finally, someone gives in and the manuscript is officially accepted. (These steps can take 6 months or longer.)

Contract is sent to author. Author dances around the room in ecstasy. Contract is reviewed by author's attorney and/or other financial/legal advisors. Points are negotiated between author and publisher. Contract is signed and returned to publisher. (This step better take you at least a week or you haven't done enough homework.)

Manuscript is sent back to the author with rewrite suggestions. (Actually, they are rewrite commandments or the contract might be voided.)

"Finished" manuscript is submitted to publisher.

Manuscript is edited.

Manuscript is typeset.

Cover is designed. Manuscript given a new title (probably). Back blurbs written.

Marketing and advertising plans are developed.

Promotionals start. Advance sales are made.

Final pre-press check is done.

Manuscript sent to press.

Finished books arrive at warehouse.

Pre-sells shipped to bookstores and books are placed on shelves.

Total Elapsed Time: 1 to 2 years

Now the work really begins...


biboo said...

Nice to see you back, LdSP! Hope you had a good trip. =)

PS I was going to be anonymous but the word verification (biboo) was so awesome I decided to take it as my moniker! Talk about karma!

Biboo said...

BTW, LdSP, I think the time gets shorter (at least in LDS publishing) for the previously-published authors. I know with my books the wait time from submission to acceptance is shorter than it was the first go-around, and it seems to get shorter each time. One year is a pretty accurate figure for the multi-pubbed; two for first-timers. I think it could be because the proposal stage and the meeting stage (where you're dodging large projectiles) takes longer.

Just the humble opinion of the infamous Biboo. =)

LDS Publisher said...

Thanks, Biboo, I had a very nice trip. (Love your moniker.)

And yes, it's a lot easier to convince everyone to climb on board if you've already made money on the author's previous project.

I've actually done this whole process, start to finish, in 4 months--but that was a killer. I don't like working that hard. It eats into my blogging and chair twirling time.