Let's say you've finally beaten that writer's block we talked about last week and you pushed through until the very end. You now have a completed manuscript. What will happen once it has been accepted? Let's take a walk through the editorial process.
- First you'll submit your manuscript to your publisher. Don't forget any additional items like artwork, appendixes, permissions, and sources. That last item is especially important; have mercy on any poor editors who have to do your source-checking!
- After he or she receives your manuscript, the editor will read your submission and make any changes necessary. This edit is the most comprehensive; the editor will point out problems with plot, character development, research, structure, and style. He or she will also query you with any issues that might come up and will make sure all your manuscript elements are in order (such as illustrations, headings, etc.).
- The editor will then send the manuscript back to you for your approval. This might be the most difficult part for you; it’s hard to see other people’s thoughts and criticisms about your work, but try to remain open-minded and realize that the editor is doing his or her best to help. That said, fight for the elements of your manuscript you really care about! Don’t let them change the entire story. This stage is also your last chance to make any changes or adjustments.
- You’ll then send the MS back to your editor, who will incorporate your changes and double-check to make sure any problems have been resolved and that the manuscript is in good shape.
- Once the manuscript has been typeset, paginated, and approved by the manuscript editor, the proofreader takes over. The proofreader will check to make sure pages are in order, headings are the same font, running headers are consistent, and that there are no orphans or widows. This is also the stage where the index is added, if there is one.
- Then the manuscript goes through final revisions. This stage can happen multiple times, depending on what kinds of errors are found. Don’t worry, these errors are often small and not the fault of the author. It can be things like a chapter title not matching with the table of contents.
- Finally, the typesetter’s final files are gone over once more, and they are then sent to the printer. The printer will then send back a final proof (often called a blueline) for one last look-over. Once that’s complete, the publisher gives the OK to the printer for publication.
Woohoo! You just published a book. Sit back, relax, and wait for the royalties to come rolling in.