How to Publish a Book
By Michelle Mather
In the post called “How It All Began” I described how Cam and I got into this crazy world of book publishing. We weren’t entirely new to the publishing world. In our previous business “Aztext Electronic Publishing” which we started 22 years ago, we had provided the layout for a number of books for one of our clients, a small publishing firm in Oakville.
So when we convinced Bill Kemp to write “The Renewable Energy Handbook for Homeowners” for us, we had some basic knowledge of what was involved in producing a book.
When we decide on a new book, we work with the author to provide basic research for the book. We also source photos that are required and we provide graphics based on sketches provided by the author. Sometimes we are able to find photos that we need online and if so, we usually have to request a higher-resolution version of the online photo. We also need to secure permission to use the photo.
Once the author has written the text of the book, we send the files to our editor who goes over the author’s work with a fine-tooth comb not only looking for spelling or grammatical errors but she even looks for misquotes or missing or erroneous information. She is thorough! She sends the files back to the author who accepts or rejects each of her suggestions. Once the text files are close to being final the author sends them to us.
We use a software program called InDesign to do the page layout for our books. We flow the text files in, add graphics and photos, format headings and subheadings and make it all look pretty! This part is quite time-consuming as we want to make sure to place graphics in the appropriate part of the text and make it all as inviting and readable as possible.
Once the text files are flowed in and formatted, we work on the Table of Contents, adding page numbers and we generate an index. The final files are proofed again by our editor and the author and any of their changes or revisions are made at this time.
Meanwhile, we also work on the cover of the book. We often seek assistance from friends (sometimes even strangers in a restaurant will give their opinion of some prospective book covers) and associates. We purchase a bar code for the back cover based on the ISBN that we’ve already applied for.
Once everything is ready to go we have to gather up all of the electronic files and send them to our printer. We use a printer here in Canada to print our books. We could save money having our books printed in China, like so many other publishers are doing, but we feel that is important to keep our fellow Canadians employed!
We receive a proof from our printer a week or two later and after ensuring that all is as it should be, we give the go ahead for the printing to be done.
A few weeks later our printer delivers books to our distributor in the U.S. and some to us to sell here in Canada.
As you can imagine, the arrival of a new book, hot off the press, is an exciting time around here but then the real work begins…. promoting the book and selling it!
Here’s our newest book, the revised and updated Renewable Energy Handbook, which will be arriving from the printer some time next week!