I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a thousand times, it takes a village to release a book. Sure, the shiny new book gets released and it’s just the author’s name on the cover, but there are a whole bunch of people who help make it happen.
Okay, so how does it happen?
(disclaimer: this is only a rough outline, not a guide, and not gospel)
The author has a finished first draft of a manuscript. Woo hoo!! There is nothing better than writing the words THE END after haemorrhaging your heart and soul all over your keyboard. But it’s the not the end. It’s kind of the beginning.
So the author will call their first draft done, do a read-through or three, tweaking, fixing, adding, deleting, and probably hating every word by the third round.
But, when it’s as good as they can get it—and let’s remember, most writers can’t see typos/plot holes in their work—they send it off to some trusted beta readers.
A beta reader isn’t to be confused with an alpha reader. What is an alpha reader you ask? An alpha reader is someone the author might send each chapter to as they’re written, or parts of the unfinished manuscript, while it’s still a work in progress. I personally don’t use an alpha reader (the idea of someone reading my unfinished nonsense fills me with crippling dread) but a lot of authors do.
Okay, back to beta readers. A beta will take a first draft and scrutinise, hopefully objectively, things like plot, consistency, continuation, sensitivity, and general flow and readability. Some betas help with grammar, some don’t. It’s between the author and beta to work out expectations. Getting beta feedback that consists of nothing more than “Loved it” isn’t helpful at all. Authors need betas to be brutal. Believe me, it’s better to hear it from two or three beta readers than in a hundred reviews.
Authors then need to take the betas comments and feedback and integrate that into their manuscript, which is then ready for an editor.
Editing is tough. After fifty books, I still die inside when I open first round edits. BUT (that’s a very important but) editing is the most important factor of the process. A good editor makes a manuscript better. They polish and improve, and help perfect the finished product. It might take up to three rounds of editing, but it’s worth the hell both author and editor go through.
After editing, the author more than likely can’t stand the sight of the book and cheerfully sends to proof readers to find any niggling typos or missing words that sneak through editing. Proofers give the manuscript a gleaming shine. There may be one or five proofers, and each and every one of them is critical in the process.
By then, a cover artist has worked their Photoshop magic and the author has a beautiful cover to put on the front of their book.
After this, some authors format their own books (like me) or some send it off to someone else to wave a formatting wand over. And by then, the author finally has a finished product.
But it’s not over.
Because then starts the review process and that involves promotional blog tour companies, advertising companies, ARC reviewers, and blog reviewers. This can be well over fifty people, maybe more. The bloggers and reviewers put in countless hours of work to help with release days and promotion. And it’s a labour of love for most of them; they volunteer their time to help.
And so finally release day comes around, and then the village becomes a community. The author’s labour of love flies off to ereaders, phones and kindles, and it’s officially out of the author’s hands. It becomes a product, open to reviews as the consumer sees fit. Sometimes a lot of readers consume it, sometimes not as many as the author might like, but every single one is valued. Every. Single. One. As are their reviews. And it’s often the word of mouth from readers that spreads the news on a book, love or hate it, better than paid advertising, because let’s be real. Fellow readers’ opinions matter.
And there you have it. One book hits the shelf and it’s taken months, countless hours, and countless people to make it happen. Some authors make it look easy and seamless, and that’s a good thing. No reader wants to know their newest book-boyfriends made their author want to quit writing forever LOL.
So when you see a new release, all bright and shiny, hit the ‘OMG LOOK AT THIS’ shelf, yes there might be just one or two names on the front but chances are there are a fifty people behind it who made it into what it is.
Speaking of new releases, my latest release On Davis Row was released on Nov 27th and I’m grateful for everyone single person in my village. <3
Nearing the end of a suspended jail sentence should unlock a brighter future for CJ Davis, only the chip on his shoulder is as hard to shift as his bad reputation. Born into a family of career criminals who live down Davis Road, an address the cops have dubbed Davis Row, his name alone is like a rap sheet that makes optimism impossible.
Brand-new parole officer Noah Huxley is determined to see the good in men like CJ. After all, he knows firsthand that bad things can happen to good people. His colleagues mock his doe-eyed optimism, but Noah soon sees CJ’s bad attitude and bravado are weapons he uses to keep people at a distance.
Both men know one simple mistake can change a life forever. At first glance, they might seem to be polar opposites. Yet underneath, they’re not that different at all.