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Step by Step Process of Publishing Your Book

Step by step process of publishing your book

Manuscript Preparation

The managing editorial and production departments oversee the production of your book: they supervise the transformation of your manuscript from a Word Document into a finished book. These departments are at the center of the publishing process.

Here at 21st Century Press, we edit, copyedit, proofread, and typeset. So, let’s start at the very beginning.

Your manuscript should be emailed in one of the popular word processing programs (WordPerfect or Microsoft Word). Many of the proprietary word processing systems will require a disk conversion charge. We will also accept manuscripts as an e-mail attachment in Wordperfect, Microsoft Word or ASCII (text).


The managing editor (who is sometimes also called the copy chief, or the chief copyeditor) supervises the production process.

The managing editor is involved from the beginning. As soon as you have a contract with us, the managing editor will assign your book an ISBN, or International Standard Book Number. This is a number unique to the book (unique to the edition, actually: the hardcover will have a different ISBN than the paperback). You can usually find the ISBN above the barcode on the back of a printed book, as well as on the copyright page, and you’ll notice that the publishers always have the same prefixes.

The managing editor is also consulted on the scheduling of the book. At most print book publishers, all changes to the manuscript take place on the hardcopy; the original disk is isolated to ensure version control. The managing editor takes the hardcopy of the manuscript and assigns it to a developmental editor or a production editor.

At 21st Century Press, we save a copy of your book in its unedited form (clearly marked, of course), and the whole production process takes place using the disk that you’ve provided. That’s why it’s so important that you supply us with a disk with your file in Microsoft Word: your disk is the source file for everything we do.

Whether the book goes through a developmental editor or not, the production editor (PE) is the next stop. The production editor is the in-house “shepherd” for your book. The first thing the production editor does is assign the book to a copyeditor (nearly all copyediting of book-length works is done by out-of-house editor). The depth of the copyedit depends on the condition of the manuscript. The copyeditor will be looking to correct any errors of grammar, punctuation, chronology, fact, and logic and to prepare the manuscript for the typesetter or compositor. When the copyedited manuscript comes in, it is reviewed by the author, who approves the changes, answers queries, and makes any necessary changes, corrections, and additions. The changes usually go back to the production editor, who integrates them into the file.

At 21st Century Press, we copyedit onscreen, so the whole process takes place on a hard drive. Every person who works on the manuscript uses a different color to indicate his or her changes, and the production editor collates them all. The copyeditor has to make sure that internal page references are expressed as links. So a cross-reference like.


Once the editing is completed, the book is ready for pagination into a book format for printing. We use professional design software that has expert kerning of text and unlimited design capabilities for your book. From here on your book will be in a digital format until it comes off the press. You will be sent PDF proof copies of the book so that you can go over every page. Yes, you will have hands-on in every step of the process.

ISBN (International Standard book Number)

Your book will be assigned an ISBN from 21st Century Press. This number will automatically tag the book to our publishing house and will be propagated throughout the book buying system from Ingram to Barnes and Noble. The buyer and the consumer will be able to find your book with this number.

Cover design

The cover is assigned to the art director. We take pride in having the best covers in the industry, and only us top graphic designers. The cover process begins early, often while the manuscript is being finished and edited. After the art director comes up with a design concept using Photoshop, the pdf is emailed to the author for approval. Upon approval of the cover design, work begins on text for the back cover. You will need to send us your bio and a recent photo for the back cover.

Ready For Press

The book will be made into a readable PDF file and emailed to you for your approval. Carefully review the pdf, as we are close to going to press.

When all of this is done, the production process comes to a close. In the case of a print book, the cover and the interior are sent to the printer in a PDF format.

When digital proofs come back from the printer, they are checked for errors in the copy, the colors, and the effects. In the print world, sell (or solicitation) proofs are cover “flats” (copies of the cover) with sales information on the back, and the production department orders them so that the sales reps can have them for their kits.

When everyone is happy, the final pdf proofs are sent to the printer. The printer sends the publisher a “digital proofs,” which is the final pdf document. It’s the last chance for the production editor to look at the inside of the book, the margins, the type, etc., and make any last-minute, panic-button changes. Nothing gets changed at this stage unless something has gone seriously wrong.

If everything is all right, and it usually is, the production manager will give the print order. Books are printed, bound, and shipped from the same place.

If you have a manuscript and want it published, feel free to call
Lee Fredrickson at

(417) 889-4803

(or e-mail

For mail:

21st Century Press
2131 W. Republic Rd PMB 211
Springfield, MO 65807

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