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How Does the Book Production Process Work?

Updated: Aug 29, 2021

Let’s look at the book production process in detail to give you a clear idea of what it is and how involved you can be in the process of creating your book.

The book production process.
Woman drinking coffee while working on her book.

If you have already read our previous blog post, A Complete Guide on the Book Publishing Process, then by now you must be familiar with the fact that creating your book or book production is the first step in the book publishing process.

We understand that from your modern-day typewriter, your PC or iPad, your book’s manuscript has come a long way for it to be ready for production. While you don’t have to be physically present during every step of the book publishing process, it is important for you to know the basics of the book production process in order to gauge the timeline effectively.

You must be dying to know when your book will finally be printed and when you can hold your masterpiece in your hands.

So, let’s look at the book production process in detail to give you a clear idea of what it is and how involved you can be in the process of creating your book.

Book Production Process in 3 Easy Steps

Step 1: Editing and Proofreading

The first step of the book production process is the editing and proofreading of your raw manuscript. Most publishers will offer you an in-house editorial service.

Their own editors will proofread and edit your work to check for spelling and grammatical errors. Good editors advise authors on the development of the plot too.

If you self-publish your book, you will need to find a good editor and proofreader yourself. It’s recommended that the proofreader is a different person than the editor because even the best editors can leave some mistakes in. Proofreading will be done after editing, either before the formatting process or after.

All revisions are made during this stage of the book production process to ensure that the manuscript is in perfect state to be printed.

Step 2: Layout and Design

This is the stage where magic happens!

At this stage, your manuscript comes into a book form and you are able to select its width, height, font, colors, design, covers and even make a decision on whether or not you want an author picture on the back cover of your book along with a brief bio.

During the layout and design stage, you can be in full control (if you self-publish that is, if you have a contract with a traditional publisher they will talk to you about the options, but they will make the final decisions) and this is exactly why it is considered the most enjoyable stage of the book production process. The aesthetics pull you in.

Once you have finalized the layout and design of your book, the next step is to send the mockup for printing.

Note: In our next blog post we will explain in detail why it is important to choose captivating book covers for your fiction book, but until then, please continue reading.

Step 3: Printing and Binding

This is the final stage of the book production process.

The mockup or ‘dummy’ book is sent as a softcopy to the printing press. Here, the file is checked one final time for errors and discrepancies, to ensure that before the book is printed, all text is properly aligned, pictures are formatted, and no page numbers are missing. You can check this dummy by requesting an “author copy”. But on sites like KDP (Amazon) you can also approve it digitally.

Once, the file is in the right shape, it is sent to the printer for printing. Initially, the printers will only print a few copies called the ‘advance copies’ as samples for the author and publisher.

This is done to save money from being wasted in case the author or publisher does not like the final look of the book. Bulk printing is expensive. It would be a complete waste of money to bulk print a book if the author or publisher don’t approve of it first.

When the author and publisher have given their approval on the ‘advance copies’ that were sent to them, another printing session takes place to print copies for bulk production.

However, nowadays, most self-published books will be printed on demand.

The next step after the book production process is book distribution. You can read about it here to learn more.

If you are an author and looking for more tips on how to publish and market your book, click here.

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