New to the publishing world? Not sure how this works? You’re in the right place. Here’s the basics of how things function in the business end of things. We’ll start with a rundown on how the query process works, and this information is roughly the same for any company, so whether you publish through Insomnia or not you should be able to use what you know there, too.
The Query Process
- You decide which publisher(s) you want to work with.
- After reviewing the publisher’s query guidelines, you write a query following those guidelines. You then send the query to the publisher.
- The publisher receives the query, and it is reviewed by the Acquisitions Editor whom decides if they are going to request a full manuscript. If the Acquisitions editor decides to pass on the manuscript the process ends here.
- If a full manuscript is requested, the Acquisitions Editor will send you an email requesting a full manuscript. This is a good thing! The Acquisitions Editor will provide instructions for you to follow, and you send the editor your manuscript.
- The publishing company will make a final decision regarding your manuscript. If they decide to publish it they will inform you and will begin contract negotiations. Congratulations!
The Publishing Process
- After being accepted by a publishing company you will receive your contract. Review it carefully, many publishers (particularly indie ones) have contracts which are unfavorable to authors. This is important. Always review your contract.
- Once you have reviewed your contract if you have questions you should ask them. If you want to negotiate the details of the contract talk to the publisher about it. However, it is extremely important to be professional and polite. You may have your contract terminated before you begin if you display behavior that makes publishers question your professionalism.
- When you have finished the contract process and everyone has signed you will need to provide your tax information to your publisher. Your SSN and so on must go on file just like they would for an employer. This is because the publisher files taxes and provides authors with earnings statements and such during tax season. Don’t be surprised or angry when this happens – remember this is a business deal. Like any employer, they are obligated to handle taxes, and they need your SSN in order to do that.
- When the contract and business part of your relationship with the publisher are all in order the editing process will begin. At that point you are assigned an editor who will work with you through the process to prepare your book for print. There’s no specific time set for this; it depends on the publisher. But be prepared for it to take up to a year to have the book finished.
- While the book is being edited the cover art is going to be created. This may or may not involve you. If you are working with a large publisher you may have no say over whether the cover art for the book is something you like or not, but with any luck you will have some input.
- When editing is finished and cover has been created the book will begin being typeset. This part of the process involves the book being put into its final form for publishing. You won’t have much interaction with this since it’s technical work that the publisher has to do on their own.
- Once the book is finished being typeset it will enter the final run before being put on shelves (either digital or physical). The proofs will be reviewed by everyone involved to catch any final errors and then… well, you begin working on sales!
Every publisher handles sales differently, so that isn’t something we can give you a primer on, but this should have given you a pretty good idea of what the process is for having your book published. Most publishers follow a variant of this, so you should be able to use this as a guide for your endeavors. If you have any questions please let us know by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.