open red black white book

My first book is coming out in 2024, and so I’ve been plunged into the exciting and slightly scary world of book publishing. I thought I’d share with you some of the activities going on behind the scenes to move the book through the publishing process.

  • I signed a contract with my publisher, Beltway Editions. I hired a lawyer who specializes in book publishing to look over the contract, since I’m in no way an expert in these matters. The contract specifies all of the rights that will go to me and to the publisher, as well as the financials. We now have an official agreement that the book will be published in 2024 (barring unforeseen calamities).
  • The publisher assigned to me the responsibility of gathering materials for the front and back cover. There is a graphic designer who will assemble it all, but I have to gather the basic materials. One of these materials is a cover image. I purchased an image that I found online on a photography site.
  • Every book needs words of acclaim, right? It is my responsibility to find people to praise my work. These are called blurbs (which I personally think is a fun and silly word, and a perfect fit for its meaning).
  • I have arranged to get professional photography done for my author photo. This also involves buying a new dress and arranging to get my hair done beforehand. My goal is to look professional but fun and relaxed in the photo—we’ll see how that goes!
  • I wrote an author bio to accompany the photo. This was easy enough as I have a bio on my website and bios everywhere my poems have been published, so I had several starting points to work off of.
  • And let’s not forget the manuscript itself! The publisher has given me an opportunity to make any changes to my manuscript before they proceed with their official editing. I chose not to make any changes, other than to add a line to my acknowledgements page to thank the publisher.

So you see, a lot is happening behind the scenes. It’s sometimes hard to remember that more goes into book publishing than just writing and polishing a manuscript. This is why the process takes so long: there’s a lot involved.

Disclaimer: These are just my experiences. Other authors may have different experiences, depending on who is publishing their book and other factors. Certainly I would expect there would be a large difference between being published by a small publisher (like my publisher) versus one of the big publishers.

Any questions?