Publishing Process

Step 1: Understanding Your Options

Understand Your Publishing Options

Self-publishing—the author does everything: selecting editors and designers, finding printers, courting distributors. Many authors have successfully self-published their work. The downfall is that you take all the risk and you pay for the mistakes. The upside is you keep all the profits.

Step 2: Acquisitions

Get Ready to Share Your Book!

You want a publisher who cares about your work. You’ve done some homework and found out the kind of publisher you want (print on demand, a hybrid, a traditional publisher). You may have asked around and found referrals for reputable publishers. You call, email, or send an author questionnaire form. That triggers the first part of the publishing process—acquisitions.

Acquisitions is the process a publishing company goes through to see if they are interested in publishing your book. The acquisitions team will first want to look at a query or a proposal. If they’re interested in seeing the manuscript, they will let you know within a reasonable amount of time.

The acquisitions teams consist of people versed in all phases of book publishing: editing, design, distribution, and marketing. A good publisher will tell you honestly if he/she thinks the book will sell.

The acquisitions team will decide if the publisher wants to extend an offer to publish the book. If so, they will send you a letter or email of acceptance. You go through the contract process. You sign. You have a publisher!

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Step 3: Editing and Writing

Your have contracted with the publisher. Now what?


Editing is an expense every author should plan for.

If you have a good idea and have written a book, you are an author. But authors aren’t necessarily writers, and that’s okay. Good editors make good books, and this process is essential to publishing a book because the reading public is unforgiving. They don’t want a book with a lot of typos, and they certainly don’t want a book that doesn’t flow well and is confusing to read.

Gone are the days when editors were almost as famous as their authors (Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Tom Wolfe wouldn’t be who they are if it wasn’t for their editor, Maxwell Perkins.) Authors need to contract their own editors—but how do you know you have an editor you can trust?

A good editor is someone who cares about what you want to say. Your voice and your message are sacred. A good editor will also help ensure your book is focused and it flows from paragraph to paragraph, chapter to chapter. Your Aunt Sally who was an English teacher isn’t necessarily a good editor. There is no higher education degree for editing. Editors learn their craft over time. The best editors are those people who have written and published their own books, have taught writing in some form or other, and have edited numerous types of material—articles, sales copy, and of course books.

Editing is an expense that every author should plan for, but the payoff is worth it. The heart of the any book is how well it is written. This includes the flow of the book, consistency throughout the book, sentence structure, use of grammar, and a whole host of other aspects that a professional editor ensures is done well.

Dr. Patricia Ross, Publisher and Senior Editor at Hugo House, will not publish a book that is badly edited. She considers it her personal mission to bring back high-level, quality editing to the publishing industry.

Levels of Editing

Many times when people say “editing,” they’re thinking of the editor who checks for grammatical and mechanical mistakes. That is only one level of editing, and it’s done toward the end of the publishing process.

  1. Editing begins with an editorial review. After the manuscript has been accepted for publication, the Senior Editor will read the manuscript, make notes, and consult with the author on the amount and type of editing that needs to be done.
  2. Developmental Editing (what Dr. Ross calls content coaching)—This type of editing looks at the overall focus and flow of the piece. The editor makes suggestions that the author can then implement.
  3. Line Editing—literally looks at sentences and words. Line editors make sure the actual sentences read well and that the words being used are all correct.
  4. Content Editing—this is the highest level of editing and sometimes verges on ghostwriting. The editor works closely with the author as the book is revised. Some revisions are a complete overhaul of the book. Content editing always requires a separate copy editor to do a final clean up because the editor is too close to the text and cannot spot all the mistakes.
  5. Copy Editing—handles grammar, punctuation, and cursory sentence structure issues (if sentences are consistently in need of help, line editing is necessary).
  6. Proofing—this is the final cleanup of the typeset manuscript. There should be at least two proofs of a manuscript before the book is published, printed and put on shelves for sale.

Hugo House’s personally involved and supportive editing differentiates us from other publishers in the market. Don’t be fooled by others that promise professional editing only to outsource it or just tell you what you want to hear.

Other Editing/Writing Services

Writing Coach—Unsure where to start? Overwhelmed? Have a Hugo House Expert Writing Coach guide you to complete your book, fast. If you are reading this, you are probably realizing all the things that being a published author can do for your career—from TV exposure to public speaking, to bringing in new clients—ideal clients who want to get the best services they can and are willing to pay a premium to hire an expert like you.

But you may also not have enough time to write the book yourself or simply don’t have time to devote to all the tasks required to get your book out in the public in a form that will work for you. And, if you want your book to be superbly written, maybe you’re even thinking that you need someone else to tell your story. Hugo House can help you. We’ll connect you with our hand-picked editors to be your writing coach—someone who can work with you every step of the way!

Ghostwriting—There are some individuals out there who either don’t have the time or the inclination to write their own book—but they have an amazing idea or story to tell that the public should know about.

Good ghostwriters are a rare breed of writers and editors. They are writers who love to write books but who are happy to watch their authors reach for the stars. Good ghostwriters already have one or two books of their own published, so they don’t need to see their name on the cover.

Because of the close relationship between author and ghostwriter, it is not an inexpensive proposition. And because the quality of the relationship and the considerable expense that occurs, Hugo House takes great care to match the perfect ghostwriter, that unique individual who captures the essence of your voice and ideas in your book.

Contact Hugo House Publishers for More Information

Step 4: Market Research

Hugo House Marketing Tools Exceed Expectations

Being an author is not just about writing your book—that is actually only about 10% of the work you do. The other 90% is dedicated to marketing. Marketing your book is a process that should begin even before you have a completed manuscript.

At Hugo House, we take a unique approach to marketing. We believe that it is vital to find out what your reading public wants—what resonates with them, what is real to them, what they value. We do this with a very specific marketing technology—surveying people not Survey Monkey-type surveys. The surveys are done by professionals who know how to ask the right questions to get the most information from the people surveyed. This information is then tabulated so that we get the top buttons of potential readers. A button is a word, phrase, or image that resonates strongly with a reader.

You can make people angry, sad, happy, even ecstatic if you push the right buttons. The right buttons pave the way for the message of your book to be accepted. Surveys also help your editor figure out how the book needs to be edited. They help the designer come up with the perfect design that will entice your buying public to pick up the book. Most of all, they tell our marketing team how to craft your marketing messages so that they get the response you want—books sold!

Contact Hugo House Publishers for a Marketing Consultation

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Step 5: Design

Book design is key

While the book is being edited and after surveys are done, the publisher will usually bring on the graphic designer who will create the book cover. (Sometimes the designer will do the cover and the interior. Sometimes those jobs will be given to different designers.)

Book Covers: The old saying is still true—you do judge a book by its cover. The cover of a book is important for one thing—it prompts the potential buyer to pick up the book or click on the book’s description on an online listing service. Book covers need to capture in images what the book is about. Good book covers communicate. They’re not just a picture of the author with some color stripes to make it look interesting. They take talent and work to produce. It’s an essential part of the publishing process and one that can take a bit of time. At Hugo House, we don’t keep our authors separate from the designers. Our authors are hands-on with the design, and the result are covers that get attention.

Book Interiors: There is more art than an author realizes to a good interior. Fonts, margins, placement of pictures and graphs—all these elements and more go into creating an interior that makes the book a pleasure to read.

There is a very specific order of business to book interiors.

  1. Book interiors begin when the manuscript has been proofed thoroughly so that mistakes are at a minimum.
  2. The designer provides the author and publisher with a mock-up consisting of the first 30 or so pages. The mock-up has various page number placements, running heads, chapter headings, and such. When the author and publisher are happy with the mock-up (and it can take a couple of rounds of changes by the designer to get that), then the designer will design the entire book.
  3. After the entire manuscript has been handled by the designer (who has gone through the entire book doing their thing with italics, graphics, and all the minutiae that makes up the interior), then the PDF proof is given to the author for the first final proof.
  4. The first final proof is done on a PDF and requires the author to note changes. The designer will make the changes noted by the author.
  5. After the designer makes the first round of changes, the author will again proof the manuscript. The designer will do that clean up. The author checks all the changes, and does one final proof. The publisher is involved in the process throughout, checking the changes, finding and noting mistakes. The publisher and the author must both give their approval to the interior before it’s sent to the printer
  6. During the final proofing stages of the interior, the publisher and author craft the back cover copy. This is a key element. This is the copy that will appear on all online listings, on the fact sheet for the book, and other marketing materials. It is sales copy and ideally, it is surveyed before the book is printed.
  7. Once the interior is proofed, the back cover copy written, tested, and proofed, the book is ready to go to the printers!
  8. Once the book is complete, the designer then converts the file to e-book formats (.mobi for Kindle; .ePub for all other readers). The e-book file is checked and when completed, the publisher lists the book on e-book listing sites like Kindle.

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Step 6: Printing