Behind the Scenes: 7-24-23, A New Book is born


A New Book is born

Name: Pending approval, or name change, from the earthly version of God (the publisher): Doing the China Tango II, Advanced StudiesHow to Dance around pitfalls in Chinese Business Relationships

Estimated Publishing Date: September – October, 2013

Today I sent a new book, a manuscript as it’s called, to my publisher. As a writer, it’s always exciting when you finish a manuscript. It’s a long and time-consuming process and takes, on average, between 6 months and one year of writing, depending on the complexity of the subject and the desired length, to produce a manuscript. This manuscript took nearly a year to write and cites nearly 400 references, which are included at the back of the book, to help the reader delve deeper into a specific subject if they choose. This book will be more than twice the length of my previous books, and will cover timely subjects for anyone wishing to conduct business in China. These subjects range from how one can protect their intellectual property in China to how you can negotiate with the Chinese and win!

The publishing process is fairly straightforward. Once the editor receives the book from me, which is in an MS Word format, she’ll slice and dice it and return it with comments in 2-3 weeks. These comments can range from changing the title, which happened on my second book, to suggesting a more, or less, substantive explanation to various subjects discussed, to re-arranging the order of the chapters. You get the idea. Everything’s on the table. One of the reasons that this is so important in producing a great book is that, as a writer, you’re too close to the book. Believe me when I say that you almost have the book memorized by the time it goes to the editor. You’ve gone over the manuscript and subject matter so many times that you can’t see the forest from the trees. An editor, in contrast, is seeing the manuscript for the first time, much like the reader who’ll purchase the book. She doesn’t see the forest, she sees the tree and will tell me what changes, if any, need to be made in order to make the book razor sharp.

I’ll also send a copy of the manuscript, even though it’s not finalized, to a number of industry associates to get their input on its content. The idea here to that I want to see if they can spot any holes or errors I’ve made in the various subject matters discussed in the book. Usually I give them 1-2 weeks to get back to me while the book is in cover design, which is the next step in the publishing process.

Cover design tries to come up with a book cover, and dust cover for hard cover books, which visually reflects the books subject matter. Usually one, and possibly two, suggested covers will be sent to me and I can accept, reject, or modify these as I like. The cover design department has always surpassed my expectations and I’m always impressed with their work product. They seem to know what I like and usually nail it.

Once the editor’s comments come back to me I’ll look at the recommended changes, review the comments from my industry associates, and I will discuss every comment with the editor. Although the final decision on what changes to accept or reject is ultimately left up to the author, the editor is normally an experienced professional who is spot on with her comments. Again, her job is to make the book razor sharp. Therefore, after discussing every comment, we both agree on what needs to be done and, in 2-3 weeks max, the final manuscript is then sent back to the publisher. It’s at this point that I sign (electronically) a form from the publisher saying that I’ve reviewed the final manuscript, agreed with its content, and it’s ready for the presses.

When the publisher receives my approval form, the manuscript is sent to typeset and an initial copy of the book, hard and soft cover, is printed and sent to me for final approval before the actual print run is initiated. The e-book version is also constructed by the publisher during this time and will be sent separately to Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and many other booksellers who will offer hard and soft cover copies of the book as well as a down-loadable e-version.

As you can see, the publishing process is collaborative and involves the input of many professionals.

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