Ask a Publisher: How Does the Publishing Process Work?

Maybe you’ve decided to query Josha, or maybe you’re considering doing so when our submissions open again, but there’s one burning question in your mind: what’s the publishing process like? You can find answers to some specific questions on our FAQ page, but we’ll go into a bit more detail here on what you can expect as a Josha author.

The first stage of the publishing process is the query process. We talk about that a bit more here, but in summary, the query process is what happens prior to an author contract. During this stage, hopeful authors submit a letter and a portion of the manuscript to either an agent or publisher; then, the recipient reviews the submitted materials and decides whether they want to read more. They may request the full manuscript in order to make their final decision regarding whether or not they want to prepare a contractual offer for the author.

Once an offer had been made, the author has the opportunity to review it with an attorney and decide if they want to sign it. While each offer will vary by publisher—and, even at Josha, each offer will vary by the manuscript, its needs, and the genre—the stages outlined below explain what the general production process is like to take a completed manuscript to a book on a store’s shelf.

Editing & Proofreading

Every manuscript will be evaluated by our in-house editorial staff for developmental as well as copy purposes. Once the manuscript has been through the initial round of editing, it, as well as a feedback letter, will be provided to the author, who will review the suggested edits and comments. After this review, the manuscript will be returned to the editorial staff for a secondary review. At times, this process may occur several times before the manuscript has been finalized and will receive an initial proofreading for typos, grammatical errors, and consistency. Additional proofreading will occur once the interior formatting is complete in order to identify any issues that appear as a result of the formatting (such as split words or spacing issues, for example).

Cover Design & Formatting

Once the manuscript and blurb are ready, work will begin on designing the cover and formatting the interior of the book.

At Josha, the author will not only have an opportunity, but will be encouraged to be involved in this process. Prior to beginning work, the author will be asked for any ideas or visions they already have regarding both the interior and exterior of the book and those ideas will be taken into consideration. Additionally, the author will be able to review and provide feedback on the design prior to completion. However, please note that other publishers may do things differently and we advise you to ask, during the contracting process, if your input will be considered for the appearance of the book and to what degree.

Endorsement and ARC Review

Once there is a formatted interior and a digital cover, the book will be available for distribution for endorsement and ARC readers. ARC readers, or individuals who receive an Advance Review Copy, of a book are an important part of the publication process. Similar to individuals who provide an endorsement (i.e., a testimonial used on the cover or purchase pages online), ARC readers assist in promotion for the book as well as digital visibility, not mention post-publication reviews. Simply put, the more people who are excited and talking about a book prior to its release, the higher the likelihood of more sales.

Pre-Order Period

Our policy is that every book will be available for pre-order for a minimum of three months, though the exact pre-order period will vary by genre and book. The pre-order period is important, because this helps give each book a “bump” on online retailer sites (ex., the more orders placed prior to release day, the more likely the book is to rank higher on their site). Additionally, during the pre-order period, the author can network in person or via social media about their upcoming release and include the information for when and where it will be available for purchase.

Example Timeline

This is an example timeline with estimates for each stage of the process following an executed contract with Josha Publishing. Actual time required for each stage will vary by manuscript. Additionally, not every stage will be required for every manuscript, and at times certain stages may be completed simultaneously (this may vary by publisher, too, so this is something else we advise you to ask about as you consider contractual offers).

Editing & Proofreading6-12 months
Cover Design & Formatting2-4 months
Endorsement and ARC Review2-4 months
Pre-order period3-6 months

It’s certainly exciting to begin the query process, and even more tantalizing to receive a contractual offer. And while we encourage every aspiring author to only submit the most polished version of their manuscript as possible, it’s important to remember that a publisher may see additional room for improvement. If so, any major developmental changes should be discussed prior to signing a contract, especially if the publisher and the author have different visions for what the final version of the book should look like; those agreed-upon changes should be noted in the contract.  Of course, every manuscript, its needs, and editorial review will vary, which means each contract will also be unique. It’s impossible to foresee every potential editorial note before the manuscript has passed through every single stage of the publishing house’s editorial process, which doesn’t happen prior to both parties signing a contract. However, what matters at this stage is that both parties are satisfied with the terms and conditions within the contract, including that changes to the manuscript—as noted and as yet unknown at the line level—will occur as it passes through the publisher’s editorial process.

We encourage every author to have patience as the publishing process unfolds—it can take quite a long time to take a well-written manuscript to a beautifully-presented book. Ultimately, though, as arduous as the process may seem or feel at times, we promise it’s always worth it.

Josha Publishing, LLC is a woman-founded, woman-owned, and woman-run company that is passionate about booksstories, and the power of words to change lives. Learn more about us here and remember to sign up for our newsletter to find out about new content, new books, and submissions update.

Ask a Publisher:
How Does the Publishing Process Work?

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