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The five phases of publishing a successful book

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There are four different publishing paths for the modern author.
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When you’re thinking about publishing a book, it can be challenging to get a handle on what the publishing process looks like.

At Paper Raven Books, we tailor each project to our authors’ needs. But we have a tried-and-true process that streamlines the whole publishing process. We’ve created a system that incorporates all of the publishing industry’s best practices. And we are constantly updating to stay on top of what’s working for authors today.

I’d like to give you a sneak peek behind the scenes of what the modern publishing process looks like so you’ll know what to expect when you publish your first (or next) book.

The first phase is writing.

You may choose to write the first draft of your book on your own or you may look for a writing coach to offer feedback as you’re writing your first draft.

This phase usually takes anywhere from a couple of months to a year. We recommend aiming to write about 30,000 to 50,000 words in the first draft of your book.

The second phase is editing.

Once you have a first draft, we would call that a “manuscript.” This just means that the written content of the book is all in one file, but still needs to be edited, designed, and published. There are three levels of editing that you could consider.

“Developmental editing” is the highest level of editing.

Your editor will look at the whole structure and logical flow of your book. Your developmental editor may move some sections or chapters around. They may suggest taking out extra or repetitive parts or ask for more clarification or stories in other parts.

“Copyediting” is the mid-level of editing.

Your editor will help smooth out the actual text of paragraphs and sentences. Your copyeditor will change, add, or remove words and phrases so that your writing style and voice are smooth and consistent from beginning to end.

And “proofreading” is the detailed level of editing.

Your editor will examine every comma, quotation mark, hyphen, italicized word, and citation. They make sure everything is perfectly consistent throughout your book. Your proofreader will catch all the lingering errors and typos.

The third phase is design.

Design can usually begin when your book is with one of your editors. We recommend starting with the cover design.

At Paper Raven Books, we like to crowdsource the cover concept. We ask for hundreds of design concepts. We help the author pick a powerful, modern concept. Then we bring that concept in-house to design the cover as an ebook, paperback, and hardback.

We then use the same look, feel, and typography on the interior design of the book. Chapter titles, headings, subheadings, page numbers, and detailed design elements are all part of the same look and feel, inside and out.

The fourth phase is publishing.

Once the cover and the interior are designed and ready to print, we do one more final proof. We fix any last little errors and then we have all the files formatted for ebook, paperback, and hardback.

We upload the paperback and hardback to IngramSpark for their print-on-demand services, and we upload the ebook to Amazon KDP.

Amazon automatically creates a sales page for the book that offers all three versions of the book to be ordered and fulfilled globally.

The fifth and final phase is launching.

At Paper Raven Books, we usually begin preparing for our author’s launch months in advance. These are a few pieces that we especially make sure we do for every launch.

  1. Create a book launch team of at least 50 people who receive an advance copy of the book and are ready to leave a review during the book launch.
  2. Set up a free ebook promotion for 5 days, usually a Tuesday through a Saturday, and we drive traffic to that free ebook every day during launch.
  3. Use the author’s email list and social media, the Paper Raven Books platform, and some paid promotions with our partners, like Books Butterfly.

And during that week of the book launch, we’re asking everyone to do three specific things:

  • First, download the ebook while it is free.
  • Second, to leave a review for the book.
  • And third, to share the book with someone they know.

Download, review, and share.


Using this method, every book we launch hits at least one #1 in the book’s most relevant categories. We always get reviews during the first week and we set the book up for long-term success in Amazon’s algorithm to continue to be pulled up by new readers who are finding the book for the first time.

We at Paper Raven Books have streamlined the publishing process for our authors so they know they’re getting the best practices of modern publishing, all the way through writing, editing, designing, publishing, and launching.

We’re here to help you become a published, successful author—your way.


Bio: With more than 10 years of experience in writing, editing, and publishing books both in and out of a traditional publishing setting, Morgan leads the Paper Raven Books team in developing the best practices for publishing successfully in the modern, digital age.

FREE QUIZ: Which "Publishing Path" Is Right For Your Book?

There are four different publishing paths for the modern author.
Do you know which is right for your book?

TAKE THE QUIZ