We're on the threshold of releasing our next title, Skylar Hamilton Burris' When the Heart Is Laid Bare.
Some of you may wonder just what is the process of taking a manuscript and making it into a book. In other words, what do I do all day?
Well, besides accounting, which is cranking up now because the end of the sales period is June 30th and I'll be working on royalty reports and checks, here's what the process for the actual book looks like:
The first step of the process is the submission. Sometimes we receive a query first and then need to respond and ask for the submission if we think we may be interested. Others just send along the manuscript with a query and synopsis. Either is fine but we don't normally respond unless we're interested, and the time-frame, I'm sorry to say, can be excrutiatingly long, depending on how large of a back-log we have going on. Authors we already have under our umbrella get preferential treatment, so it moves along faster for them.
Once we decide we like a submission, we offer a contract. If the author signs, then we start the editing process.
We go through two rounds of edits and a proof. Just the edits can easily take six to nine months, depending on the size of the work and the amount of work needing done. The proof generally goes much more quickly because presumably we've weeded out ninety-nine percent of the problems by that point.
As we go through the editing process we bring the book more in line with what the text block will look like. Font, dimensions and bleeds. By the time we get to the proof, it will be in final text block format and a pdf file. To get the text block to print ready status, I then save the completed pdf to a ps (postscript) file. Then I run it through Adobe Distiller which embeds fonts and makes it PDF-X1a-2001 compliant, required by all, that I know of, printers. Upon its distillation, it converts back to a pdf and is ready to go the printer. The text block is the 'easy' part.
Usually by the time we're on the second round of edits, I'm beginning to get a cover concept in mind. The first thing I do is research similar subject books that are selling well and see what they used for their covers. If they've found something that works, then it behooves me to see if I can incorporate any of their cover theme into our cover theme. I then go online to dreamstime.com to see if they have images I can use. I prefer dreamstime because the quality of their images is usually pretty good and the royalty fees are reasonable. I'll download about ten images for different ideas on how to make the cover work, fiddle with them over the course of days until I've narrowed it down to three or four. Then I download the royalty paid versions of those three or four, which gets rid of the watermarks and gives you a professional dpi for printing.
Then starts the ardorous task of putting the cover together and making it fit within the specs required by the printer. After having the images worked out, placing in the title and author name can take another obscene amount of time. Trying to get an aesthetic balance of colors, placement, font and size can take days in itself.
Here is Skylar Burris' finished cover:
The back cover can be an added challenge because you need to find harmony between passing along information about the book (readability of back cover description and, of course, the Bar Code) and keeping the image intact and pleasing to the eye.
After, finally, all this is done then I have to crop the image from the template I've been using in Paintshop and save it as a jpeg. Then I have to load the template into Adobe InDesign, open it, and open the cropped jpeg and reapply it to the template there. I then save it as a pdf. The pdf I convert into a PS, run through the distiller which converts it back to a pdf, but now PDF-X1a-2001 compliant.
Now it also is ready to go to the printer.
After all that, I'm ready to start the ebook formats, which is a whole other story....