Getting your craft book published

This is the third part of my Getting your craft book published series: in Part 1 — I covered the beginning steps, getting an agent and researching a publisher and narrowing down that big idea! In Part 2 — I talked more about a writer’s platform, writing a proposal and included a bunch of publisher’s links to their online submission guidelines. Today I am going to discuss what happens next … what to expect after you have submitted your proposal and received a positive response.

What happens after your proposal has been accepted?

When you have submitted your proposal to the correct person at the publishing house of your choice, you will need to wait, and wait and wait a bit longer. Generally the person you submitted the proposal to was the acquisitions editor whose job it is to find new books and new authors, they also then champion the manuscript (and the author) to the publisher.

Next the proposal goes to the editorial board — this is made up of the publisher, some editors, and the sales and marketing team, together they discuss the books uniqueness, its financial viability and its marketing capabilities. This board meets regularly to discuss the proposals that are being considered. There will likely be more than a few proposals considered, and not all will get through each round.

If your book is a chosen one, then you move up in the process and you will be assigned an editor, the person who will work closely with you on your book. This is the person who will be your lifeline to the publisher, the photographer and the designer, they will go to bat for you and will put you in your place, they will weigh up your needs and wants against the practicalities of the book publishing world.

Next it is contract time, if you have an agent they will deal with this for you, if not then you need to carefully read through all the points, have a lawyery type friend look it over for you if you can, make sure to ask about anything you don’t understand, royalty payments, digital rights, who pays for and is responsible for photography and illustrations, how much say will you have in the title, design and cover etc…

Payment: Every contract is different, you could be paid a lump sum which is an advance on royalties, or you could be given a set fee without the option of royalties, or you might not be given an advance at all — you may have to wait for a royalty payment until after the book is published.

An advance on royalties is usually paid out in sections, often part on signing and part on completion, and is not enough to quit your day job, it certainly won’t pay for the time you will be putting in, but it may pay for your supplies and tools. This advance on royalties is exactly what is says, it’s an advance on the future earnings of this book and if your book doesn’t ever sell enough to pay out this advance then the chances are you will never see any more money other than this initial lump sum. But if your advance does pay out then you will continue to receive royalty payments for the sales of your book – so it is important to negotiate what percentage on the wholesale price of the book you will receive.

Another to be aware of is that your payment may include the cost of photography (the step by step photos and/or the final beauty shots) and/or the cost of getting illustrations and patterns drawn up. If you can do these yourself or the publisher has budgeted for this then you are ahead, but be sure to ask those questions.

The writing and submitting process

Each editor and publisher is different about how hands on they are with the writing process, some editors will sort of just leave you alone once the contract is signed and until your deadline, other editors will want to see the manuscript at regular intervals and will want more input about your designs and the materials you use, so this is something to make sure to discuss before signing the contract.

The writing of the book can take anywhere from 3 months to a year or even longer, this is something that again will be in your contract and will be a negotiable point — be realistic when you agree to a deadline — writing the book and making all the projects will take longer than you imagine.

Once you have finished writing your book and sent it to your editor, you will then be back and forth with your editor and a copy editor and a technical editor and possibly another technical editor and the designers and illustrators for months and months, it will seem endless, your eyes will glaze over and you will be totally sick to death of reading and rereading your book.

Then the photographer does their magic — you may or may not participate in this step. You may have to organise and pay for the photographer yourself, or the publisher may have a budget for this, or the publisher may want total control over the choice of the photographer. Then the layout and designers do their magic, then the fonts and designs are worked through (again you may not have much say here either).

Finally you get a proof to look over. You have to look carefully — do the photos and illustrations match up? Are all the templates included? By this time there are no major changes allowed — just essential stuff. Then goodbye book — you won’t see it again for a while — months — before finally the book arrives in all its gloriousness on your doorstep — it was all worth it for this moment.

But it’s not over yet — now is the time you have do all that marketing you promised back in your proposal: blog tours, guest blog posts, book launches etc … but don’t worry you will have a publicist that you will work closely with, but you will still need to do a lot of the leg work yourself — use your contacts to get the word out there about your amazing fantastic book and just hope for the best!

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