The Process of Publication

I’ve been wrapped up, enamored with, and possibly swooning over “The Process” of publication.

When I worked at Nortel, a Product Pipeline (it might have looked something like this-but there were many variations depending on the project manager) was often used to monitor the progress of products as they went through various stages of production.  Ultimately, each one reached a final production phase which meant they were ready for delivery to a customer.

I’ve pictured the process of publishing a book similar to what used to happen at Nortel.  Of course there is a ton of work I’m not privy to, but I thought I’d share what I do know, and what was required of me as an author.

Much of the time, there are many weeks of quiet which is great since I’m working on the new project.  Every now and then though, I’ll get an email from someone at Kensington.  This is always thrilling because it’s an indicator the book is moving along in their publication pipeline.

So, starting back in April of last year, here’s what’s happened so far:

  1. Answered Author Questionnaire (April)
  2. Received/signed/mailed copies of contract (May)
  3. Author photo (May)
  4. Completed edits – two kinds, red pencil and revisions to story (July/August)
  5. Received “cover copy” or back flap copy, to hyperventilate over (October)
  6. Publicist assigned (October)
  7. Bound manuscript sent out by Kensington to collect “blurbs” or quotes from other Authors (October)
  8. Completed changes/updates for Copy Editor (November)
  9. Received book cover .jpg to ooh and ah over (December)
  10. Blurbs/quotes from authors started coming in and were shared (February)
  11. Publicist recommends early promotional work such as a web site update, claim Goodreads Author page, create Author Facebook page, etc.  (February)
  12. Book became available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and eventually Indiebound and the Kensington site itself.  (February)
  13. Publicist created a Press Release (February)
  14. Page proofs – this is the step I’m at now.  So, this week, the Production Editor at Kensington contacted me to let me know I would be receiving “page proofs” for DIXIE DUPREE.  They will arrive today.  Page proofs are a Big Deal, as they are the final step, as I said over on my Author Facebook page ( ) where I – or the proofreader- can make any last minute corrections to spellings, or fix errors.  These changes need to be fairly limited.  One point of emphasis was to “try to avoid adding or deleting word(s) that will change the number of lines in a paragraph.”  This is because the book has already been typeset by a printer, and a change like that would be costly, and the publisher reserves the right to decide in the end.  (March)
  15. Advanced Reader Copies (ARC’s) will be printed, and sent out for reviews to national reviewers of all sorts.  Think Netgalley, Goodreads, etc. (Spring/Summer?)
  16. The First Edition printing takes place, which includes any/all reviews received via the ARC’s as well as earlier Author reviews. (late Summer/early Fall?)
  17. The book now exists and is sent out via distribution channels to stores – and a box is sent to me! Pre-orders can be shipped October 25!
  18. Enter the sandwich board promotional efforts by author! Official release/launch November 1, 2016

I have found every part of this fascinating and of course, that has everything to do with the fact it’s my book, but I thought you might like to have a peek behind the scenes.

Right now, it’s a bit like the lull before a storm because I know once I start promotional efforts, it will be all consuming.  I’ve received some “insider” advice on what to do to begin early promotion of the book, so, I plan to spend the Spring and Summer visiting local bookstores to introduce myself, among other things.

Bottom line?  I can’t wait to see DIXIE DUPREE “out and about!”  

Kensington-logoCover DIXIE DUPREE



Thank you for sharing this peek behind the publishing curtain. This is endlessly fascinating to me. Can’t wait to buy your book.

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Geez, you had me going! It sounded so real! I was believing you and prepared to go to page ten hoping there was a typo already and if not, trying to figure out how to sneak one in. LOL! The folks at Kensington would be like, “huh? she’s purposely misspelling that word? Uh, why?” 🙂
That thing with the 13th floor I’ve always found interesting. It is funny about being superstitious, and I’m a bit that way, for sure. Example, the other day I tweeted something and it was tweet #1666. Yep, immediately sent another tweet to get to 1667.

But as to mistakes in books…I’m at the point where even if I spot something storywise, it’s at the stage where it can’t be fixed. I can only fix misspellings, (or not? hello page 10?) correct punctuation, etc. And I spotted something this morning, and I’m like, damn. It’s minor, and possible nobody else will notice (they haven’t so far) but you know. First book – so I want it perfect!



Oh, Donna, awesome stuff. And I have two thoughts swirling in my head. (I so badly want to hit SEND right now and just leave you in total suspense, just to see if I’m able to write suspense. But I won’t.)

1. Your bit about the author sandwich board. In my mind, I’m picturing you — well, only your head because that’s all I’ve seen and that’s all that pokes out of a sandwich board — walking around a busy street in front of Barnes & Noble with a sandwich board of the front and back covers covering your body. Is that what your marketing & publicity team has in mind? Cuz I’m thinking I might drive out to your part of North Carolina just to get my copy of Dixie Dupree at THAT Barnes & Noble.

2. I’m guessing you’re heard of this, and you need to know about it NOW when you’re editing for the final time. You know how a lot of buildings don’t have a 13th floor? You look on the elevator panel and you can go from the 12th to the 14th floor without possibility of a stop in between. Or, my house, but I don’t want to brag here. Well, what’s become the norm is for authors who want good luck and big sales is to leave one typo in their book. You create a typo on page 10, line 12. It’s based on the bible verse from 1Corinthians at, you guessed it, Corinthians 10 verse 12 which reads: Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing securely should watch out so he doesn’t fall. Essentially, “don’t deny your mistakes.” So, if you want God on your side, you should make one typo right there on page 10. It’s what all the pros are doing nowadays.

Also, I should let you know, I just made that up. C’mon, we write fiction, it’s what we do. Make stuff up. But the bit about the 13th floor? That’s for real.

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Oh my gosh, yes! Thanks for sharing! This is too cool.

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This is some great information! Thanks for sharing and congrats on all your success!

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I knew it was a process (and one I yearn for), but it’s really neat to see the steps laid out like this! It’s funny to think typesetting is still a thing, but of course it is. Hold a book in your hands, and you can (typically? mostly?) tell how those words physically reached the page.

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    I thought ya’ll might like to read about it – I know when I find a site that spills the beans I’m enthralled! When I was in high school, at some point, we had to take a class called Graphic Arts. I remember doing typesetting then. It was tedious, but precise work, all those steel/metal pieces with a letter stamped at the top, and the long section that set into some sort of tray…I remember thinking, um, nope, not for me! I’m too impatient! “Typesetting” today has moved on to a more digital format for most publishers I think, (there is a program in Adobe for it) but is still a process that is about design, style, layout, and formatting.


It’s all so exciting. I wondered how much of your physical time you need to devote to pubb-ing and edits.

I’m not a publicist but I am a visual person. I think all that grey space behind your photo on the top should be not grey, but a slice of your book cover. Your book’s cover is beautiful beyond words. It is a cover easy to remember.

I’d use the same image on your twitter page and your FB author page.

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    It is exciting! The good news was this book was in really good shape. The editor said as much, so when I got to work on revisions/editing, all said and done (between red pencil corrections and modifications to story) it took only two weeks. The copy edit stuff wasn’t bad at all – they sent the Word Doc with tools turned on, and I was able to make the corrections which showed via Tracking. That only took me about a week and I could have done it faster.

    That is GREAT advice about use of the book cover here. This theme I’m using I think is pretty static, and won’t allow it – not that I’ve seen. (boo!) I’ll have to check to see if I can maybe change the color at least and pick up on that bright, sunny yellow. I’m trying to be as consistent as I can with the design of social media. I used an application or website called Canva to create my FB banner. I tried to use the same banner on Twitter, and part of the quote was cut off, so I had to shorten it there. I copied other author’s page design in doing that…I’m hoping I can eventually use an actual “book” picture on my sites (i.e. like a 3-D image) instead of a flat one eventually.

    I find myself staring at that book cover. (swooning over it too!) Thx Angie!


How fascinating, Donna! Thank you so much for sharing this AWESOME process with us. And I can see why it would seem surreal — even now. 🙂
I’m so excited for you, my dear friend. ❤ ❤ ❤

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    I’m glad you found it so, Lilac! I know for me, I want to read every single thing I can get my hands on about what goes on – before I was signed, and even now. For instance, I love reading about book signing experiences, the do’s/don’ts (really need to study up on that) and the what to expect sort of things. There’s nothing like trying to be prepared! (Girl Scout that I am. 🙂 )


I can’t wait either. You are living the dream my friend, living the dream.

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