It might sound unfair, but for many people, this holds true: most first-time writers do not have the slightest idea about what goes on behind the scenes during the publishing process. Knowing the steps to the process is necessary because each one of these steps will have a considerable impact on the sale of your book. Here is how the book publishing process works.
Publishing is extremely competitive, which is why publishers compete to sign the best manuscripts possible. Most of them, as a rule, do not accept unsolicited submissions. Instead, they rely on agents to find potentials. Once an editor agrees to read a manuscript, the process starts. If the editor likes what he or she has read, acquisition of the book will then move forward. Just remember that publishers are driven to produce well-rounded titles, which is why if they had recently acquired a book that is similar to yours, you may not be prioritized.
Editing includes: development and content editing, line editing and copy editing, and proofreading. The process is always top-down, which means that big-picture editing and revision is done first until it goes into final proofreading for typos and other errors. Not all editors are the same, which is why the editor assigned to the author will definitely have a huge influence in the outcome of the book.
Book Design and Production
The designers of the publisher will begin working on the cover design a few months before the scheduled publication date. If you have ideas, or specific images in mind, you can discuss this with the commissioning editor in advance. This process involves three stages: print book design, ebook production, and website design. These stages are usually done by three separate people as it is rare to find one designer who can adequately handle all three.
Book Distribution and Sales
Most self-published authors cannot hire sales retailers. This is due to the fact that there are very few retailers or sales outlets that will distribute a single book from a single author, particular if the book is self-published. Retailers meet with major publishing houses to discuss the list of books to be distributed for the entire season to make the meeting worth their time.