A Guided Tour of the Publishing Process

Literary agent Rachelle Gardner is re-running a series of posts describing the publishing process from start to finish.  It’s a great crash course in how the system works.

She starts at the beginning with the book proposal.

  • Either you or your agent submits your proposal to an editor at a publishing house.
  • It goes into the editor’s stack. At some point (could be the same week or it could be six months down the road) the editor takes a first glance. Is there a spark of interest?
  • If so, they’ll give it a careful read, and they may discuss it with another editor or two.
  • If it doesn’t capture the editor’s interest, a pass letter will be forthcoming. But if the response is positive, your proposal will go to the entire editorial team.
  • At the editorial meeting, all the editors will discuss it. Every aspect will be looked at: idea, execution, author’s platform.
  • Three possibilities can come from the editorial meeting:
    1) Pass
    2) Go back to the author for suggested revisions
    3) Accept
  • If the proposal is accepted, it then goes to the Pub Committee. This is a team of executives usually consisting of the publisher, editorial director, marketing director, sales director, sometimes even the CFO. The question is no longer “Is this a good book?” but “Can we sell this?” Other questions being considered include: Will the author’s platform help sell this book? Does it fit with our vision as a company? Does it fit with our publishing plan? Does it overlap too heavily with anything else we’ve already contracted? (continue)

Part Two is the contract stage.

Part Three is the writing and/or editing stage

See her blog for the last two stages.


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  1. Pingback: Twitted by SortisBooks

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