Novice writers might be surprised to learn that the publishing process isn’t a quick and easy thing. It can take a year or longer to go from manuscript to printed book. Here’s the step-by-step process and a few tips to help you survive.
Step one: writing the book. This may seem pretty obvious, but it is the step that must be completed before anything else can happen. After the book has been written, it should undergo a thorough editing. This should be done by a professional. All grammatical and spelling errors should be corrected, as well as any problematic plot issues. Manuscripts with errors are just not accepted. So spend the extra money to have your work edited.
Step two: finding an agent or publisher. These days, most works need an agent to see publication. There are several resources writers can use to find agents (www.agentquery.com, or a book called Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market). Make a list of agents or publishers who might be interested in your work. Research their submission requirements. You may need to write a query letter or a book proposal outlining your book’s summary, your credentials, and a marketing plan. There are plenty of books on the market which can help you do that.
Step three: accepting a contract. If you’re lucky, your work will be accepted. You will then receive a contract from the publisher. Go through the contract carefully. Make sure you understand which rights you are keeping and which you are giving to the publisher. The legal jargon can be a little confusing. If you need help, don’t be afraid to contact a lawyer. Most of the time, your agent will be able to help you with the tricky aspects of accepting a contract.
Step four: passing the editorial process. So you thought what you submitted was the way it was going to be? Think again. The publishing house has its own editorial process. You may be asked to revise your work several more times before it’s ready for publishing. Swallow your pride and work with the editor. Adhere to whatever deadlines are set. Always be professional and follow your editor’s suggestions.
Step five: reviewing the galley proof. After the book has gone through a design phase, you will receive an early printed version of the book, called a galley proof. Read through the proof and make any corrections before returning it to the publisher. This is the last stage of the editorial process.
Step six: marketing your book. It’s time to get out and tell the world about your book. You might be asked to make promotional appearances. Do as much as you can to promote your book.
Step seven: Last but not least, your book is printed and shipped. Pat yourself on the back – you wrote a book and you survived the publishing process!
Sherry Ellis is the award-winning author of Ten Zany Birds, That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN, and That Mama is a Grouch. She is also a professional musician who plays and teaches violin, viola, and piano. Sherry lives with her husband and two children in Atlanta, Georgia.
To learn more about Sherry, visit her website at www.sherryellis.org.
Description: Ten zany birds have a party in a tree, singing and dancing. Five have stripes, three have spots, and one has purple polka dots. They’re all having fun, but one by one, they become distracted.
One is frightened by a loud plane. One gets hungry. One wants to race and another needs a bath. Only one stays to sing in the tree, but who will it be?
Ten Zany Birds is a fun, beautifully illustrated picture book. As parents and teachers read, children are introduced to counting and basic subtraction skills. Whenever a bird leaves, the number of striped, spotted, and polka-dotted birds changes, teaching the application of simple classification rules.
Whimsical and entertaining, Sherry Ellis’s tale of ten silly, distractible little birds is an excellent choice for both prereader storybook time and early readers.