The Publishing Process

Step By Step

This guide is designed to explain a little more about each major stage in the publishing process, focusing on what you, as a self-publishing author, need to know, and avoiding the technical stuff you don’t need to worry about. We take care of the nitty-gritty in the typesetting and the intricacies of print-buying, but hopefully what follows will clarify the process, including the order of the various stages, and explain the part you play in it.

The Contract

Although we would like to operate entirely on trust, it is sensible for both you and us if a straightforward contract is drawn up between us once you have decided that you want to publish with Scotforth Books. Ours is pretty short, though comprehensive, and includes the agreed specifications of your book and the costs of producing it. Once you have signed and returned yours we can begin work on your book.

The Text

You will supply us with the complete, final text which we will convert for use in our page layout programme. This will include a general ‘tidy’, picking up things like double spaces, extra full stops, that sort of thing. If you’ve asked us to edit or proofread we will do that at this stage and then send you the revised text to make sure you are happy with what we have done. Only when the text is all ship shape will we begin any design, and it is essential that you are sure that there will be no more significant changes to the text once the page layout has begun.

The Pictures

If you are including pictures in your book you will have supplied all of the ones you have selected at the same time as the text. We will scan any that need to be scanned, and process digital ones to make them ready for use. Any improvements that are needed to make sure that the pictures look as good as possible in the printed books we will do at this stage.

We will need you to indicate where in the text you would ideally like the pictures to be placed (unless they are to be bunched together in a section).

First Page Proofs

Once we have all the material together and ready for use, we will design the pages, with pictures in the right places, ready for you to look at and check. You will receive proofs and will have time (as much as you want, or as the schedule allows) to thoroughly check them and to make corrections and minor amendments. It is important that you make only absolutely essential changes at this stage, to avoid us having to re-layout the pages, with the additional cost implications that this may have. You will let us have the proofs back, with your corrections marked on them, so that we can make the changes you request.

(Payment of half the total cost of producing the books for you is due at this stage, as per your contract)

Cover Design

When this happens does vary, but it is usually at this point. Having talked it all through with you, and taking account of any design ideas you have, we will create a cover or jacket that coordinates with the style of the insides of the book. We can use pictures you supply, can source one (or more) for you, or even provide artwork (with any costs having been agreed beforehand). You will be provided with at least one design, usually more, and will be sent a proof for your comments. We will fine tune the design until you are happy with the final result.

Second Page Proofs

We will make the changes you have indicated and produce a fresh set of proofs for you to check that we have done as you wanted. There should be very little to change at this stage but you can take the time you need to make sure you are happy with everything.

Final Page Proofs

When we get your further corrections we will make any changes and produce what is usually a final round of page proofs (though we can have more stages if necessary). These should only need a very quick check and we will then need you to let us know in writing that all is OK and you are happy for us to send the book off to the printer.

Printing & Binding

After weeks and months of activity things will suddenly go very quiet for you at this point! While the book is being printed and bound we will be in constant contact with the printer, who will send us material to check periodically, but just in respect of technical things that we are responsible for. For a softback the printing will take 3 to 4 weeks, for a hardback 4 to 6 weeks, although this can vary depending on how busy the printers are.

The Finished Article!

Finally, you will see a finished book, which we will send to you as soon as they are ready. Once you have approved this copy, and we have received final payment for the production of your book, we will send the copies you have ordered direct to any UK address you choose.

(Full and final payment is now due, including any additional costs as per your contract)

Page Layout and Cover Design

This is basically the way the pages of the book look, and a great deal of skill is involved in making them attractive and accurate. Some page designs are relatively straightforward, while others are more complex, dependent mainly on the number and type of elements. A text-only book is much simpler than one which has illustrations or diagrams, although it still requires design to make sure that it looks professional.

We will discuss the page design with you and then if necessary we will provide you with sample pages before going ahead and laying out the whole book. Much of what we do is rather technical stuff that you don’t need to think about, so if you prefer can just tell us what you want and we will convert your ideas into finished pages.

Printing & Binding

This is the only part of the book production process that we don’t do in house (the machinery is way too big and expensive!). What we do is to find the most competitive price from the best printer for the job, and because we buy so much print for ourselves and other people we can negotiate the best prices possible on your behalf.

As you will be aware, there are many options for printing and binding. Taking into account the size of your book, the number of copies you need, whether there are pictures and whether they are colour or not, as well as any special binding requirements, we will help you to decide what is best for you. We will deal with the printer in respect of your book and will arrange for the delivery of the finished books to an address you supply.

Sales & Marketing

If you need it, we can give you lots of advice in respect of promoting and selling your books, and this is free of charge if you publish with us. With so many years’ experience in the publishing industry, we are able to offer tailored advice, suggesting many ways in which you can market your book. Marketing takes time, passion and a good knowledge of the target audience, and these are things that those wishing to sell books that we produce for them are best placed to provide, with advice and guidance from us as required. The beauty of handling all this yourself is that you will genuinely believe in your book, and be able to focus your energies on it, giving it the best chance of success.