The publishing process consists of three phases:
In pre-production, there are three main steps and a fourth optional step:
- Cover design
When we begin working on a book, we begin editing and cover design in parallel, since these two are the most important steps, and also the most time-consuming. Once the editing is done, we do the typesetting (“setting” or “formatting” of the content to make it look good – like a “real” book – and get it ready for printing). In the rare case that there are illustrations, they are also undertaken in parallel with editing and cover design.
When the printable files are ready, both for the inside pages as well as the cover, we go for printing/binding.
These days, we almost always create e-books of all the books that we publish. We distribute and sell our e-books through Amazon.
We get asked a lot of questions about editing. So here is what it entails.
While editing, we get rid of typos and grammatical mistakes. We also rephrase certain cumbersome sentences, if we find any. These two constitute a big chunk of the editing work. Apart from these, we might also suggest other major changes like changing the flow of a particular chapter or rearranging the contents of book or even changing the ending.
But whatever changes we do in the manuscript are done with “Track Changes ON” so that you know what changes we have made. You have the option of accepting or rejecting the changes. In case of typos and the grammatical mistakes, we expect you to accept most of the changes; you can reject, but if you do, you better give us a good reason why our suggested change shouldn’t be accepted. In the case of other “stylistic” changes, we will be a lot more open and understanding if you do not want to accept our suggested changes. After all, every writer has his own style and we respect that and even like that. We want our books to read like they are written by different writers, and so we will preserve all your idiosyncrasies.
In general, we will respect your opinion and never suggest changes that change the “soul” of the book.
In the production phase, we print copies of the book.
Offset printing was pretty much the only option when we started APK Publishers. But since offset printing has high fixed costs (for making the plates), the norm was to print at least 500 copies in the first print run to amortize the fixed costs over larger number of copies and thus bring down the cost of product per copy.
However, digital printing has become very cost competitive in the last decade and has opened up the possibility of printing small quantities, where small means anywhere from 1 to 50. So we go for digital printing in most cases these days since smaller quantities also have the added benefit of not having to worry about storing copies.
The “crossover point”, i.e. the point beyond which it is more economical to go with offset printing, depends on many factors but is usually beyond 300 copies. In other words, when more than 300 copies are required, we go with offset printing.
In summary, we work with both offset as well as digital printers. And which we choose for a particular book depends on the number of copies that we print and special printing requirements, if any.
This phase involves doing the publicity of the book and fulfilling the orders when they are generated. We take care of the latter:
- Shipping the books
- Doing all the tedious bookkeeping
- Ensuring that there are enough copies of the book available at all times and re-printing as and when required
That way, you can focus on the former: doing publicity of the book. And that is something that you will have to do if you want to sell copies of your book, because our experience tells us that the first few hundred copies get sold in the immediate social circle of the writers, if at all.