Countdown: the book publishing process

The scope of the book publishing process is complex... breaking it down into stages brings clarity and helps you take the next step.

book planning process steps

This count-down post outlines the book publishing process and how PageMaster is available to assist you. It includes both external and Internal links which will take you to relevant articles. We want you to be proud of your book.



Planning: concept/target audience 

There is a reason you are considering putting effort into this work. Clarify up-front for whom and why.

  • What is the book about? 
  • What is its purpose?
  • Whom does it help?
  • What is its tone or feel?
  • What is unique?
  • Who will read it? 
  • Who will buy it? 

Answering these questions now, will smooth the project and guide many decisions.

Consider available books and clarify how yours is better. Consider if there are sufficient potential readers to be feasible, and few enough to be easy to reach? Are market trends favourable?

The idea here is to get sufficient information so you can bail early or commit. A more in-depth market analysis is recommended later.

PageMaster offers in person or virtual one-on-one sessions throughout the creation stage ($100).



Research and organize

Consider research sources and what content you already have available. Create settings, dossiers, plots, outlines, flowcharts... to get clear on the puzzle and how the pieces fit together. Create a time-line and budget. Curate photos, stories and poems to understand the scope.



Market feasibility

Sorry, we’re not quite ready to pour on the writing energy. Now that you have a rather complete picture of your book, consider the market feasibility. Are similar books selling? How will you reach potential reader? Do you know the questions they are really asking? Are there changes required in your plan? Does your book need colour printing inside? What is your budget? Do your costs, expenses and risks make sense?

This concludes the initial part of the book publishing process. Let's get writing.



Write the draft

If you are creating a collection of poems or a photo book, the task may be more of curating. Possibly others are contributing and your pre-work will guide them and the project.

Often this is the solitary part of pouring words on to the page. Get it all down, sanding and polishing come later. Let the creativity flow.



Revise, edit, feedback

It has been said that there is no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting. It can be a good idea to work on another project for a bit and then come back with fresh eyes. Once you have revised the copy, it is time for feedback. You can be more candid with yourself than an editor will be with you. But seek feedback, especially from those in your target audience. Editing at this level is not a “fine-toothed comb”, but looks at flow, structural problems, message and sentence clarity, and habits that you may not see. Peers and writing groups can be a great help here.

PageMaster offers an editorial review ($400) and editing ($50/1000 words) services.



book production timeline

Simplified Gantt Chart for books from proofreading to distribution.

Copy edit

At this stage in the book publishing process consider employing another set of eyes and when to engage beta readers. Testing your work on those in your target audience is the most valuable way to ensure you are communicating clearly.

Take a closer look at the work and begin to polish. Check for consistency, grammar and spelling. When this stage is complete, the text should be clean; content changes after this point on will add to your costs and time-line.

PageMaster offers copy editing at $25/1000 words, and proof-reading at $12.50 per 1000 words. Revision marking is used, and we provide a marked-up document. We found many grammar errors were reintroduced at this stage and so now also supply a file with all revisions applied. Allow two weeks for proofing, with additional time if there are significant adjustments.



Cover concept and creation

People do judge a book by its cover, at least before picking it up. The front cover’s role is to get the target reader to pickup the book or click the link for more information. The tone you are setting should be carried through the entire project. The back cover provides the promise of the book and builds authority.

PageMaster offers three levels of cover design. For some books, an existing portrait or photo and adding the title, blurbs and barcode complete the task. This is our basic cover design, which is $142.

A more complex cover with multiple images or image manipulation is $284. A custom version with additional manipulation (up to 8 hours) is $568. Additional time is billed at $20/15 minutes. Stock photos from our library are included; premium stock or custom images and scans are billed on a cost-recovery basis. Allow two weeks for most book cover projects. Custom art or multiple iterations will affect both the time-line and costs.

You may also provide print-ready PDF file for printing. The cost is $40, which covers one-time processes on most cover files. Bar-code creation and placement is an additional $20.



Format the text

The book block communicates the message and is essentially the most critical part of the book. Photos add considerable complexity. The best balance between communication and amount of work is photos at the end of each chapter. Non-fiction books are generally more complex with pull-outs, points and multiple levels of headings.

Provide a synopsis to guide your designer. They will enhance the tone of the book with their choice of fonts, spacing and format. We can develop the template while cover design and proofreading are still in progress. The manuscript is flowed into the book block and front matter and closing material are added.

In our publishing process a digital proof is followed by a binder proof (3 hole punched in a high school binder with crop marks). Allow two weeks for book block assembly plus time for proofing and changes. Pricing is $366 with page and graphics limits on involved layouts. For simple layouts with distribution agreements, we include eBook versions.

You may also provide print ready PDF files for printing. The cost is $40, which covers one-time processes on most book-block files. Adding page numbers and assembling PDF files are available services.



Final proof

If possible, order some pre-release copies of your book. They provide a final check, plus the opportunity to source additional reviews and media promotion. If you spot errors, they can be fixed before your main run. Errors should be minimal but look for image, formatting, font and colour problems at this stage. Once you review these copies, marketing preparations can go into high gear.

At PageMaster we recommend printing between 4 and 24 books for an initial run.

Here are a few famous printed errors from books:

  • A 1631 edition of the King James Bible, remembered by history as “the Wicked Bible,” the seventh Commandment was printed as “Thou shalt commit adultery.” 
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy printed "a moment of panic before he saw him walking along the bench down shore.”
  • The first three editions of The Good Earth by Pearl Buck contained “against the base the small mat sheds clung like flees to a dog’s back.”
  • Plague Ship by Clive Cussler added a new verb to the English language - moist - with,  “He goosed the throttle and worked the wheel, using the four-wheeler’s power rather than moist his strength to right the six-hundred-pound vehicle.” 

From an email by Discover Books on occasion of National Grammar Day, March 8 in USA

On the main run following an initial order we waive the run setup if there are no changes. We don't want to see a bunch of second-rate books due to a proofing or technical error. Run setup for our standard 5.25x8” and 6x9” books is $44; $50 for other sizes.

Book pricing is based on the number of pages, number of colour pages, final size, and type of paper. A “run setup” covers the fixed cost of each run and since the variable cost is flat, it’s easy to calculate additional or fewer books.

Your books should be ready one week from proof approval.



Prime print and distribution

Reach out and schedule appearances, interviews and podcasts.

Order your first run. Small batch printing has the advantage of saving cash, risk and storage and is cost effective to about 1,500 copies. Reruns of up to 100 books take a week at PageMaster.

If you have ordered bookmarks, sell sheets and other marketing material, we will complete them in time for your launch.

Ideally, your website and social media accounts are already running and building an audience. You are just turning up the heat.

Optional premium distribution, which makes your book available world-wide ($250), is scheduled simultaneously with your main printing run. This can include the major eBook platforms and Ingram's distribution to booksellers. Your book will go live on if you have signed a distribution agreement (free). If using our numbers, we will fulfill National Library ISBN copies from your main run.




When your book goes live, you want to build momentum. Generate reviews. Make appearances and do calls, interviews and podcasts.

And don’t forget to check for glitches. Stay flexible and have fun. Celebrate.



Promote, evaluate and revise

Continue to engage and grow your audience. Work on generating additional reviews, gather feedback, and adjust your marketing.

You can update your cover with additional reviews. Corrections and minor additions to your book can be done under the same ISBN. Major changes would indicate a revised version. Or is it time to begin another book?

Is your book is something we can champion?

PageMaster champions works which bring life and hope. Our goal is to push back the greying of globalization by helping 5,000 independent Canadian creatives successfully publish by 2025. The company is based on conservative, Judeo-Christian values, recognizing that we are all learning and growing. As “it takes a village to raise a child,” we have unique contributions and perspectives, which is healthy and good. Where there is no diversity in nature, there is death rather than health.

Two questions:

In order to move the project forward, the first question:

“Where is the work at in its publication journey?” Then:
“What needs to be done for it to reach its potential readers and fulfill their needs?”

Once we know, we can agree on a strategy and create a proposal for your acceptance, feedback or rejection. We don't believe in pressure tactics and allow you to mix and match services as required for the work. In the end, it is all about the work.