As a publishing company, one of our primary jobs is to gently guide our authors through the process of book production, causing them as little stress as possible as we turn their lovingly drafted manuscript into a professionally edited, designed, and polished work of art. Most authors are familiar with the first part of this process: editing, wherein they enter into a dialogue with their editor and continue writing and revising their work until every word is finally ready for print. But far fewer authors are familiar with the next parts of the publishing process: design and production, which take place behind the scenes, and with less author input. This perceived separation from the manuscript they’ve been so involved in editing can be something of a shock, and can sometimes make authors anxious. “Now that my book has been written and professionally edited, what could take so long?” they often ask. “It’s just a matter of printing the words on paper—right?”

Not exactly. Just as writing a book worth reading can be a slow slog, designing and producing a great book takes time. Preparing a finished, fully revised manuscript for the world to read involves a long series of steps, many of them unknown to authors who are going through the publishing process for the first time. From formatting to cover design to font selection to ordering an ISBN, every part of this operation demands strict attention to detail. The overall process is linear, but every stage of production requires recursive steps to check and recheck language, design, and many other elements for accuracy. And all this is part of the reason why, for us, the entire process of publishing and launching a work takes twelve months or more—and why, for major publishers, this process can take as long as two years. But when production is complete and the book’s final proofs are approved, most authors feel it was worth the wait—even if it took longer than expected.

written by Robert Pruett, Publisher