Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Proof is in the Putting

This is the fourth in a series: Manuscript to Book Metamorphosis. Scroll down to read the previous posts if you haven't already: Proposals form the Heart (9/23/09), After the Proposal: the Wedding (9/30/09), and Signing in Blood (10/7/09).

During the 4-12 months of editing and rewrites, your manuscript will be marinating in the minds of your publisher's marketing and editorial teams. They will decide whether to change your title for better marketing (don't be shocked - it often happens!), and cook up some concepts for cover design. You'll be included in the idea-bouncing process, but understand that the final decisions are theirs, not yours. Most publishers are gracious and listen intently to what you have to say, but when you signed that contract, you relinquished final say to their years of expertise.

You will likely be asked to seek endorsements for your book (the biggest names possible in your genre). Agents can be very helpful in obtaining these blurbs - they have connections you don't and a host of other clients who would be delighted to get the free publicity. These will be included inside or on the front or back cover of your book, again your publisher's decision.

Early on, the sales team will receive sample chapters and probably your proposal as well so they have a good feel for the type of book they'll be pitching. They prepare a Sales Sheet for their sales force to begin promoting your book to industry buyers. They'll shift into fast gear several months before the release date.

Back to putting the proof to bed. When you and your content editor are finishing polishing your manuscript to the best of your ability, it proceeds to a copy editor, who corrects grammar, typos, footnotes, quote permissions and punctuation. A completed copy will be sent to you for your input.

After final proofing, it's sent to typesetting, where the layout is finalized. A completed "galley" is sent to you, where you peruse every jot and tittle for one last time. This is your last chance to catch any slippery errors that might have slid by.

Then HOORAY - on to the printer!

Stay tuned next week for the final installment of this series: Planning for a Golden Anniversary