Steps to Publishing a Book

After years of planning, dreaming, writing, and rewriting, you’ve finally done it – you’ve finished your book! This is a proud moment, and you can’t wait to share your work with the world. But how do you go about getting your book published, and what does that process even look like?

If you’ve never gone through them before, the steps to publishing a book can seem daunting. Read on to learn more about what to expect during the process of getting your book out into the world.


The first step of the book publishing process is submitting your book to publishers and agents. If you want to publish your book through one of the Big Five publishers (Penguin/Random House, Hachette, Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, and Macmillan), you’ll need to work through an agent. If you’re publishing with a smaller house, you may be able to submit your book directly.

The submission process can take a long time, and you should expect a lot of rejections at first. Don’t get discouraged; this is a normal part of finding a publisher or agent who’s the right fit for your book. Be sure to do your homework before you send in your submission and find a publisher or agent who specializes in your genre of books.


Once you get your book accepted with a publisher, the editing process will begin. Depending on your specific situation, your publisher may want to go through a few rounds of content or story editing. This is where an editor will work with you to tweak the content of your book to make sure it’s the best it can be.

No matter how you publish your book, it will need to go through at least one round of copy editing. During this process, an editor will go through and correct any grammatical or spelling errors you may have made in your book. This is an incredibly important stage that takes your book to the next level of professionalism and accuracy.


With your manuscript cleaned up and ready to print, you’ll move into the layout stage of the publishing process. An interior book designer will take your raw manuscript and put it into the final format you’ll see on the printed page. This includes setting up chapter headings, your title page, any index you might be including, a table of contents, and so on.

The layout stage is where your book moves from being a rough manuscript into a polished work that’s ready for print. Your designer will select fonts and spacing that bring out the tone of your book and make it shine on the page. This will also be when any pictures or graphics you may be including in the book get incorporated in their final spots.


After your book designer finishes the initial layout draft, you’ll receive a PDF or printed proof of your manuscript. You’ll have a chance to review it and make suggestions about changes to the layout. This can include anything from tweaking the font to adjusting how much space you have around chapter subheads.

During this stage, it’s a good idea to read back through your manuscript looking for any mistakes. While your copy editor will have caught most of them, there will likely still be one or two problems that you haven’t caught before. Seeing the book in this different format can bring them to the forefront, and this is the time to correct those mistakes.

Cover Design

While your interior book designer is working on your manuscript layout, another designer will be putting together your cover. Although we’re all told not to judge a book by its cover, the truth is that most readers do. You want a cover that will grab readers’ attention, give them some idea of what to expect from the book, and represent your work in the best possible light.

If you work with a smaller publisher, you may have some input in what the cover design for your book looks like. If you’re publishing through the Big Five, chances are you’ll have to go with whatever they create for your book. Keep in mind that the cover designers who work for these companies know what works well to sell books and are doing their best to make sure your book sees all the success it deserves.


Once the cover design and interior layout are approved, you’ll be ready to give final approval on the book. Before you send this approval, take the time to read through it one more time. Once it’s sent to print, you won’t be able to correct any mistakes or change any content you don’t like.

Printing is usually a long process, especially depending on where your books are getting printed. If the books are being manufactured overseas, you might have to wait as long as three months to get a book in hand. Oftentimes, though, you can expect to see your printed and bound books in about six to eight weeks.

Navigate the Steps to Publishing a Book

Publishing a book can be a very exciting process, but it can be confusing if you’ve never done it before. Knowing some about the steps to publishing a book can help you know what to expect and understand why it might take a long time. Settle in, prepare to read your book a lot, and don’t rush the process, since it’s what will deliver your beautiful final result!

If you’d like help navigating the steps to publishing a book, check out the rest of my site at Quickbeam Literary Consulting. From copy editing and book layout to guided self publishing and social media marketing advice, I’m here to make sure your project gets the care it deserves. Contact me today and start putting down roots as a successful author.

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