Tin Whiskers Publisher

Imagining the Webs of History...

Publisher of Historical Fiction

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Publishing Process

For new authors, the publishing process can be a bit of a mystery, one with many questions. What happens after I send in my manuscript? Why does it take so long to get my book printed, when I can just hit the print button in my word processor? When will my first royalty check arrive so I can quit my day job?

If the last question is first on your mind, it might be worth reflecting on why you write. The vast majority of authors don’t get rich from publishing. Is it possible to make a living as a writer? Absolutely, but most who do work on volume. This means having a number of books published that each earns some in royalties as opposed to one book that earns a enough to make the author rich. The six- and seven-figure advances that some select authors receive make headlines, but these are the exceptions and by no means are a common occurrence.

Speaking of advances, the proper phrase is advance on royalty. In effect, an advance is a loan against future earnings. In most cases, the author will not see any money from the actual royalties until the advance is paid back. So, if the author receives an advance of $1000, then the first $1000 in royalty stays with the publisher. After that, all royalty goes to the author, minus, of course, an agent’s percentage if applicable. Most publishers pay royalties either quarterly or biennially.

There are several things that happen after an author sends in the final manuscript. First, the manuscript is edited, which usually includes three separate edits: content edit, line edit, and copyedit. The author will be involved in the first two edits. After the edit, the manuscript is laid out, or pages are composed, which is when the book starts to look like a book. The author will review the pages at this stage for one last time. After page composition, the book is printed or translated to e-book format.

Depending on the publisher, the entire editing process may take as few as six or eight weeks or as long as four or five months. There are many factors that contribute to the length of the edit, including how much work is involved, the resources the publisher has available, the timeliness of author reviews, and other aspects of the business.

Page composition usually takes less time than the edit, unless the book contains artwork. But this stage also includes proofreading and a final review by the author, which take time beyond the actual page composition. This stage may take anywhere from two or three weeks to as many as six or eight weeks.

Printing the book can take anywhere from six to eight weeks, sometimes longer. The time of the year is a factor in print lead times, as well as paper supplies. Translating the pages for e-book format takes relatively little time. However, most publishers will release all formats—print and electronic—at the same time. This is for marketing purposes rather than for technical reasons.

From manuscript submission to published books, the process can take anywhere from two months to nearly a year. The vast number of factors makes it difficult to generalize how long the publishing process will take with any specificity. However, once a given project is accepted by a publisher, there will be a schedule put in place containing milestones and deadlines to guide both the publisher and the author.

Tin Whiskers Publisher