Traditional Publishing Process
Traditional Publishers such as Harlequin or Avon buy manuscripts from Authors, print them in paper format, and distribute. Often they take on the expense of advertising (at least in part), and their profit comes directly from book sales
Traditional Publisher Process
Depending on the press, some publishers will buy manuscripts individually, commission authors to flesh out preplanned story arcs, or contract with an author to produce X number of books in succession/per year.
Writers often first submit a query letter or proposal. The majority of unsolicited submissions come from previously unpublished authors. When such manuscripts are unsolicited, they must go through the slush pile, in which acquisitions editors sift through to identify manuscripts of sufficient quality or revenue potential to be referred to the editorial staff. Established authors are often represented by a Literary Agent to market their work to publishers and negotiate contracts.
Acceptance and negotiation
The authors of traditional printed materials sell exclusive territorial intellectual property rights that match the list of countries in which distribution is proposed (i.e. the rights match the legal systems under which copyright protections can be enforced). In the case of books, the publisher and writer must also agree on the intended formats of publication -— mass-market Paperback, "trade" paperback and hardback are the most common options.
Having agreed on the scope of the publication and the formats, the parties in a book agreement must then agree on royalty rates, the percentage of the gross retail price that will be paid to the author and the advance payment. This is difficult because the publisher must estimate the potential sales in each market and balance projected revenue against production costs. Advances vary greatly between books, with established authors commanding large advances.
Once the immediate commercial decisions are taken and the technical legal issues resolved, the author may be asked to improve the quality of the work through rewriting or smaller changes. An Editor will guide the Author through the process of changing the work. Publishers may maintain a house style, and staff will copy edit to ensure that the work matches the style and grammatical requirements of each market. Editing may also involve structural changes and requests for more information.
When a final text is agreed upon, the next phase is design. This may include artwork being commissioned or confirmation of layout. In publishing, the word "art" also indicates photographs. This process prepares the work for printing through processes such as typesetting, dust jacket composition, specification of paper quality, binding method and casing, and proofreading.
Although several Electronic Publishers publishing only in electronic format, traditional print publishers are also starting to see profit in electronic distribution.