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The Writing Process
Writing a book is a big undertaking. If you’re thinking about it, you probably want to know a bit more about what’s involved in turning your idea or specialist skill into a printed Packt book.
To give you an overview of our process from idea to publication and beyond, here’s a simple 10 step guide to publishing with Packt – complete with excessive exclamation points!
- The idea! Every book starts with an idea. It might be that you come to us with an idea. Or it might be that we are looking for authors to write on a particular topic. The ideas Packt likes are practical, hands on, and target a specific audience that “can’t do without” the knowledge in the book. An acquisition editor will work with you to develop your idea.
- The development! Once we’ve agreed on the basic idea for the book, you and the acquisition editor will try to flesh it out in more detail. We’ll try to understand what readers will most want to learn from the book, what style and approach is most appropriate, and what kind of market there is for the book. At this stage we might also discuss how to best structure the book so that it’s engaging and useful for readers.
- The commitment! So we’ve got a great idea and a basic notion of what the book will be like. Now the acquisition editor has to prove to the rest of Packt that the idea is a good one. This means writing a proposal that demonstrates that there is a market for the book, that there isn’t already some competition that’s going to soak up all our readers, and so on. When we commit a book, it means that we are confident that the book is worth our investment of time, resources, and money.
- The contract! Now the acquisition editor turns their attention to practicalities: what chapters will the book contain, when will each chapter be delivered, and what advance is appropriate for the book. Once this and other contract terms are agreed, we will ask you to sign a contract and start writing.
- The writing! This is the longest single phase of the project. It’s when you write the complete first draft of your book. Most of the time it takes 5-6 months. Your acquisition editor will give you feedback on your early chapters, guiding your style so that you are writing in a way that readers will like. You’ll write using a purpose-built Packt template that makes formatting and organizing your work much easier.
- The rewrites! While you were writing and sending in your first drafts, your development editor was busy getting your chapters peer reviewed by other experts. Now that you’ve finished the first drafts, you’ll start to receive those peer reviewed chapters – along with helpful feedback from the development editor – so that you can finalize your drafts and prepare them for publication. This phase usually takes around 6 weeks.
- The edit! Once your final drafts are done, we’ll hand the book over to a technical editor. Their job is to work on the “details” of your book – check that the instructions and code works, fix minor grammar mistakes, ensure that the book uses all of Packt’s formatting styles correctly, and so on.
- The production! Your chapters are now all final, edited, and formatted in Word. Our production teamtakes over to lay the book out in InDesign, polish or create any diagrams that appear in the book, and get it ready for uploading to the printers. They’ll give you a final check of the PDFs for any last minute tweaks, before sending the book off to get it printed.
- The book! And then, just a few days later, the first printed book appears in the Packt offices. We’ll check that the book looks fine and if there are no major issues, publish it and release it to the public! We’ll send you an email telling you the book is published – and if you’re lucky we’ll include some photos. Your own copies will arrive a few days later.
- The marketing! Even before the book is published, our marketing team will have been hard at work promoting it. Now they kick into overdrive making announcements, sending out review copies, contacting relevant sites and individuals, distributing sample chapters and generally making a BIG NOISE for your new book.
In all, you can expect to wait three months between finishing the first draft and seeing the printed book. So allowing six months for writing, and one month for idea development and so on, you can expect to go from idea to book in around ten months. Some authors work faster, but this is the average.
If you have an idea you want to develop, a skill set that you think could be used to write a book, or just have more questions about our writing process then please contact us.