How to go from manuscript to print in four easy steps

By Will Allen, Editor at Major Street Publishing

So, you’ve written a book. Congratulations! What an incredible achievement! For many, writing a book represents the fulfilment of a lifelong dream or one of the highlights of their career. It is crucial, then, that if you choose to have your book published by a traditional publishing house, your publishing team treats your book with the care and respect it deserves.

If your book is accepted for publication by Major Street Publishing, one of our experienced editors will guide it through production, taking it from manuscript to printed book. But what does this process look like? Described below are the four main steps we take to guide our books through production.

1. Edit

Once your submitted manuscript has been approved, it will go to the editor who will get to work making it the best it can be (please refer to blog ‘What does an editor do’ ). They will read through your entire manuscript and mark up every change they believe will improve the quality of the manuscript. This includes basic changes such as spelling and grammar fixes, but your editor will also go deeper than this; they will consider factors such as tone, voice and structure, looking for possible improvements to ensure your message is being communicated as clearly and effectively as possible.

This is a collaborative process. As well as marking up their suggested changes, your editor will ask you questions along the way to clarify your intentions and seek the best ways to communicate the content. As a result, this is the part of the production process that requires the most input from the author. It is important that you make time to collaborate with the editor and answer their questions as thoroughly as you can so that you can work together to help the manuscript reach its full potential.

Also, one of the most important parts of your editor’s job is to make you feel comfortable throughout this process. Their aim is not to enforce their will upon your manuscript, but rather to work with you to bring out your message in the best possible way. They will always aim to make you feel that they are your teammate rather than your opponent.

2. Layout

Once the editor has made all their suggested changes and you have reviewed and approved them – or worked with them to find suitable alternatives – the book is ready to move into the layout phase. This is sometimes called ‘typesetting’. Our talented layout designer will take the manuscript and transform it into something you are much more likely to see on a bookshop shelf. It’s now that your manuscript starts to look like a ‘real book’!

At Major Street, we have a house design guide that informs the internal design of all our books. This has been developed to combine current publishing trends with our experience of decades of publishing business books. The text-focused style uses white space and minimal design elements to create a clean, polished look that is professional and maximises readability.

Once the book has been laid out, you will be given an opportunity to review it before we move to the next stage of production.

3. Proofreading

When the layout has been finalised and approved, the typeset book will be sent to an experienced proofreader. They will go through the entire book with a fine-tooth comb and catch any spelling or grammar issues that may have snuck through the edit phase. Having this second pair of eyes look over the book ensures that 99 per cent of errors (or even more!) will be discovered and fixed.

4. Pre-print preparation

Almost there! After the proofread has been completed, there is a series of small tasks we complete to get the book ready for printing. We will write the back cover blurb and work with you to confirm the full cover (the front cover having been confirmed prior to production). If the book is to include testimonials, these will be compiled, edited and added to the book. Depending on the book, an index may be created. References, author bio and contact pages may also require final checking.

Once all these tasks have been completed and you have signed off on the final versions of the cover and internals, we send the book to the printer and the dream becomes reality!

Will Allen is Major Street's in-house editor, who joins us after working at Lonely Planet on their travel guides. Will is now ensconced in business books and is enjoying learning from our expert authors about careers, business, mindset, leadership and the share and property markets. 

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