Publishing quality books takes time – usually about 10 to 12 months from the author handing in the finished manuscript. We can't start work on making the book until we have the manuscript, so the stage where the book is 'being written' can vary.
Here’s what happens step by step once a book has reached 100%.
A year from the manuscript being handed in may seem like a lengthy process, but putting together a book requires time, attention to detail, and many pairs of eyes. In order to guarantee the high quality that Unbound readers expect, we take great care at each of these steps of the publishing process.
The author finalises the draft of the manuscript, knowing that it will be published thanks to your help. In most cases, they will have finished writing at the time of or soon after funding. The time taken to finish writing the book can vary from author to author and project to project however, so it's not always possible to predict how long each writing process will take.
A development editor works with the author to make sure the manuscript is the best it can be. This covers everything from plot and characters to setting, narrative voice, strength of argument and so forth. With their notes, the author reworks the manuscript. This is the bulk of the work and can take up to four months – sometimes even longer.
A copy editor goes through the text and scrutinises every detail: spelling and grammar; consistency of storyline, names, character traits and so on; sentence structure and word choice; etc. The author then reviews the text and resolves any queries raised by the copy editor. This gives us the final version of the text. It can take up to two months.
Typesetters lay out the final version of the text in the way it will appear in the book itself. They make sure that the text in the book will look great: typeface, block quotations, indentations, line breaks, etc. These page layouts are called first proofs. It takes about one month to get them.
A proofreader offers a fresh pair of eyes to scrutinise the first proofs. Along with the author, they read every word carefully, keeping an eye out for both typesetting errors and any remaining minor editorial corrections. The typesetter then implements the collated notes (the author’s and the proofreader’s) into a revised file, called second proofs. This may take a month or so.
Second proofs are checked again very carefully in-house. We want to be satisfied that all the corrections have been made and that there are no more errors. For more complex books, it is not uncommon to go into third or fourth proofs. This is to ensure that the book’s text meets Unbound’s high quality standards – it may take another month to get final proofs. (Around now, the cover artwork will be finalised. Cover design is also a lengthy process, taking place at the same time as the above editorial stages. Read more about it here.)
Now that the final proofs and cover artwork are signed off, the book is ready to go off to press. Your special edition will be in your hands soon (in a month, roughly). Trade publication – when you can buy the book in a shop – happens around a month or two later. So you see, being a supporter gives you a great head start!
As you can imagine, each step of the process is important and cannot be rushed. While we at Unbound – our editors, cover artists, typesetters, proofreaders and especially our authors – work as quickly as we can, we always prioritise quality over haste. We know that you, the readers, expect nothing less.
You can have a look at where the book is in the publishing process by checking out the 'status' in your account. Read more information on this here.