Creating my Books (Part Two)

March 5, 2013 in Books, How-to, interviews, new book, press, steampunk apothecary

So, all the pieces are finished, all the text is written, what next? surely it’s nearly finished?

A project “Beauty Shot” and story page from “Steampunk Apothecary”

Well, next comes the “beauty photography”. Thats the lovely picture you see at the start of a project, which shows the finished item, often in a tableau with other items to help tell a story or suggest  a theme.

Martin Soulstealer

This is often done “in house” at the publishers with a photographer whose often kept on a retainer fee to work on many different projects as and when needed.
For both Steampunk Apothecary and Steampunk Teaparty I’ve been lucky enough to choose my own photographer, and I decided to work with Martin Soulstealer, whose work I love.

layout pages from “Apothecary”

I collected all sorts of exciting props and objects d’art to use as “dressing” in the tableaux, a history of film and art direction helped here, and I borrowed lots of gorgeous things from family and friends too. Martin and I built mini sets for each picture in both his studio and mine, taking several photographs from different angles etc before we decided on The One that we loved.

An early version of the page layout and design, we decided it wasnt vibrant enough

Once all the beauty shots had been adjusted for colour and cropped if necessary, they were sent to the publisher who could begin the design and layout process with their in-house designer.

early cover
final cover

The designer creates a BLAD (Book Layout And Design) for everyone in the team to look at and comment on, usually just of one project and a front and back cover. then after discussion/reworking of the design, the rest of the book is laid out, pages numbered and a first copy printed on flat paper.This design process can take 2-4 months depending on other book commitments at the publishing house and simplicity or otherwise of the design. Mine are quite complex obviously and I like to give the designer loads of reference material and ideas to make sure they know whats in my mind straight off.

flat copy for proofing

Once I have the flat copy, I have to check everything is where it should be, the correct picture is with each step etc and that the measurements are correct. then a copy editor re-checks everything, finding any other flaws and sometimes a technical editor will check it too!

Then it’s off to the printers and a long wait…… again 2-4 months for the printing. I get an authors proof copy to read carefully just in case, and if everythings ok, then the print run is completed!

Signing at Waterstones


Finally the book is in the shops and sent out to press and reviewers. I can have a lovely launch party to say thankyou to everyone who helped and sign some books too!