Part 5: The Book Writing Process

“I think it would be very educational (not to mention fascinating) for you to guide us blog readers through the process of writing a book. From the initial idea to the finished product, step-by-step.” A blog reader

To read the first four parts, see these links: Part 1Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4. To recap, we’ve looked at steps 1-8 of my book writing process.

  1. Ideas
  2. Outline
  3. Character Profiles
  4. Pre-Book Trial Run
  5. First Draft
  6. Editing
  7. Illustrations
  8. Test Families

Step number nine is copyediting. We’re so grateful for the copyeditor! When I’m writing first draft or beginning to edit, I check with the copyeditor and see if the date I’m thinking of to send the book to him will fit into his schedule. The copyeditor works through grammatical issues, edits parts that may need clarification, and gives the book a thorough scrub, looking at all the details carefully. He tracks the changes in Word.

Blog reader question: What/who sets the deadlines and what is the reason a writer can’t just finish a book on their own timeline?

A personal preference for me is to set a deadline because that makes me push hard and stay focused.

To set the timetable, I consult the calendar to determine the ideal ship date for the book and then backtrack. The printer generally needs about 3 weeks, but if there is any hitch along the way, there might be another few days or even a week. We need time to lay out the book in the final format before it goes to the printer. The copyeditor usually needs 2 weeks, etc. For Finding Change, my copyeditor date was October 1st and the press date was the 31st.

Mary working on the cover

Step number ten is the cover. With Finding Change, we originally wanted a photo of my main character to be on the cover but the potential options pursued didn’t work. As I researched what other kids’ book covers looked like, I discovered most of them had illustrated covers. Mary worked diligently sketching concepts to first see if we could get that idea to work, and then she jumped into the real thing. It took her about a week from sketching concepts to finishing the final illustration. There was no room for messing up because she used colored pencils. After the illustration was completed, we scanned it in and did the final layout, which included using a combination of Photoshop and Indesign.

Love,
Sarah

“Prepare thy work without,
and make it fit for thyself in the field;
and afterwards build thine house.”
Proverbs 24:27

8 thoughts on “Part 5: The Book Writing Process”

  1. Thank you for the insight into the book production process. My nephew is staying overnight tonight, so I hope to read more of Finding Change to him.

  2. Thank you for sharing with us. It’s nice to see someone else’s writing details are similar to my own. Mary does nice artwork. Does she also do illustrations for other writers?

    1. Lately, it seems my books have been on a Christmas release schedule. I’ve noticed homeschoolers often start shopping even before Thanksgiving, so when I plan my pre-order release, I try to work in that time frame! I do make sure books will begin shipping by early December, so that gives people plenty of time!

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