Guest Post & Giveaway: Inside the Book Publishing Process Part 1 with Amy Green of Bethany House Publishers

Happy July! As I take a break this week, I'm happy to welcome Amy Green, the friendly and fun to be around fiction publicist of Bethany House Publishers.  This post was long in the making, and I'm thrilled to include this on Just Commonly.  As an avid reader, I've always am intrigued by what goes on in the book publishing process!  Good thing, we have Amy to give us a little inside scoop!

Have you ever wondered what goes on in the life of a book from the time it’s an idea in the author’s mind to when you first meet it on the shelf of a bookstore or library?

Well, I’m here to give you a glimpse at all the work that happens silently in the background. Welcome to the world of publishing!

I’m not going to go over the writing process, because writers talk about this a lot on their blogs (what inspired a book, how many words a day they aim for, and how much chocolate they consume as the deadline approaches, etc.). I’m going to focus more on what happens on the publishing side at Bethany House—the editorial and marketing aspects in particular.

The process of how a book gets a contract with Bethany House varies from book to book, but I’ll give you a quick recap of some of the typical stories. Our editors don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts. This is because they would get thousands of them every year, and would have no time to actually edit the ones we’re publishing, which would be bad for everyone.

Many new writers will meet with an editor at a writing conference, and the editor will ask the writer to send a book proposal to review later—full of sample chapters, audience for the book, marketing plan, past sales (if any), and so on.

Others will be presented to our editors by a literary agent. Agencies are often the gatekeepers who look for authors who are ready to be published, then take manuscripts around to their contacts in various publishing companies where they think a manuscript would be a good fit.
Every now and then, our editors will find a manuscript some other way, like judging a contest of unpublished novels…but never by someone pestering them on social media or shoving a proposal under their hotel door at a conference.

I asked my friends in editorial to give me a rundown of what their schedule looks like for getting a book to the clean, logical, well-paced novel you hold in your hands at the end. Here it is, in lightning-fast, bullet-point form. 

Editorial Process: Contract to Publication
  • Contract is signed
  • Title is approved by the Title Committee
  • Author and Acquisitions Editor work together to compile cover information (character images and descriptions, setting images and descriptions, costume and hair images and descriptions, possible cover looks, etc.) for Art department to begin working on cover design 
  • When the manuscript is turned in, editors and internal reviewers read and review the manuscript with feedback compiled into a revision letter for the author
  • Author completes revisions and turns in revised manuscript
  • Manuscript goes through line edit (big-picture story and character elements, flow, etc.)  and copy edit (accuracy, timeline, style, grammar, etc.)
  • Edited Word galleys are simultaneously reviewed by proofreaders and by author
  • Back cover copy is created
  • All changes are incorporated into manuscript and file is sent to Design department for transition from Word files to a designed interior layout
  • Designed pages are sent again for proofreading and final author review
  • Final changes are made in the text file
  • Electronic files of text and cover are sent to printer
  • Electronic files sent for ebook conversion
  • Printer sends final proofs to publisher for approval
  • Ebook file is sent to publisher for approval
  • Book is printed, bound, and shipped to publisher’s warehouse
  • Book is released!

The amount of time each step takes varies from book to book, but the full process above takes over a year. Right now, for example, the Title Committee will soon be meeting to discuss books releasing in summer 2018, and designers are starting work on covers for spring 2018.

 - to be continued . . .

About Amy

Amy Green is the fiction publicist at Bethany House. Her typical day might involve planning book tours, handling media requests, interacting with reviewers, answering author questions about marketing, and other tasks designed to introduce readers to great books. Outside of work, you can find her playing board games, baking bread, and bravely weathering Minnesota winters. She blogs every Thursday at—feel free to stop by and comment anytime!

TO CONNECT WITH AMY:  Blogfacebook

Stay tune for Part 2 of "Inside the Book Publishing Process" 
coming tomorrow & "A Publicist's Dream" Parts 1 & 2 on July 6th & 7th. 

Welcome to the "Summer Giveaways" on Just Commonly. There will be multiple prizes and will run through the month of July.  For full list of prizes, head to announcement post. (Click on the image above.)  For this post, leave a comment for Amy, and be sure to enter the entry on the rafflecopter.

One commentator from all of Amy's guest posts will also be randomly chosen to receive a choice of a book from my stash.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



  1. Thanks for the excellent breakdown of the birth of a published book. From SCBWI conferences, I've heard very similar steps from other houses as well as agents and authors. Someday, I want to have this experience to tell first hand.

  2. Wow, I knew that the birth of a book was a carefully orchestrated process but didn't know all that went into it! Thanks for sharing.

  3. This was very interesting and shows why we have to wait so long for our favorite author's next book! Lots of steps and people involved. Thanks. Looking forward to the other posts.

  4. Amy, hank you for sharing this info. I had no idea how involved it is to hold a book in my hands! I look forward to reading more!

  5. wow I had no idea how many steps went into writing a book. thanks for sharing. my hat goes off to you ladies and gents
    quilting dash lady at Comcast dot net

  6. wow I had no idea of everything that went into getting the book into our hands. my hat is off to all you ladies/gents
    quilting dash lady at Comcast dot net

  7. Wow, how interesting. A book goes through a lot more than I realized before it gets in our hands!

  8. Thanks for the bullet point for publishing a book. I will not be impatient for my next book. I know I hate it when I read books with typos or other errors. Thanks to everyone who make it happen for a book to be publish.

  9. Thanks for your insight on how publishing works! It was very interesting to read :D

  10. It's fascinating to learn about all the efforts that go into producing a book!

  11. This was SO great! Thank you!!! Eagerly looking forward to part 2!!!

  12. Very interesting. Thank you for sharing. Hi, Amy.

  13. Thank you for posting this information. Very interesting

  14. AMY, thank you for this fascinating post!

  15. Wow. Thanks for the breakdown of the book publishing process. This was so informative and cool. I think I'll check out Amy's blog too for more insight and knowledge.

  16. This behind the scenes look at publishing is very interesting. No wonder it seems to take so long for a book to be released.

  17. My goodness, was this full of awesome information! As an unpublished writer, I'm always super curious about what goes on in behind the scenes of getting a book out there - thank you for this!

    ~ Savannah | Scattered Scribblings

  18. The process sounds a bit like having a baby: The pregnancy is the easiest part. Once the baby's there, you've got to raise it. Writing a book sounds like it would be fun, until reading all of the events that go into making it a reality!

  19. A good reminder that it takes time! I always selfishly want books faster but BHP puts out such great ones I don't mind waiting!

  20. Wow! I knew getting a book published was a lengthy process, but seeing it in bullet point really makes you appreciate all the people and steps that have to happen to provide readers with these great reads! Thanks, Amy, for enlightening us and for your work at Bethany House to feed our reading passion :)

  21. A lot that goes on! I wouldn't want to try to get an agent first or go to a writer's conference to try to get published. That's why I am a reader and not a writer, LOL.

  22. It's amazing how much work goes into a book . . . I guess in that respect, it's amazing we get books as cheap as we do, between all the people involved who have to get paid, materials, and other things.

  23. Very interesting! I didn't realize there were so many steps to the process.

  24. Very interesting to learn about the process! There is a lot more to it than pen to paper.

  25. This is such great information! Thanks for taking the time to lay it out for us!

  26. No wonder we have to wait so long for a book! Good to know the process.

  27. Interesting. Thanks for the inside info.

  28. Wow this is so interesting to learn about!! Thank you!

  29. Thanks for such an interesting post, Amy - I loved reading the preparation for the publishing of the books I read!!

  30. Wow, that sounds like a lot of work! It's a good thing that most people in the publishing industry seem to be very passionate about their jobs! Lol


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