The Life Cycle of A Book



This picture illustrates the (traditional?) publishing process, which involves four major parties and twelve steps. If authors take the self-publishing approach, some steps (e.g. Agent) might be optional; if only e-book version is produced (whether on the author’s own website or under contract with publishing platforms like Amazon), then details of the Distribution step will also alter. In addition, the “Print on Demand” (POD) model is bound to have a great impact on the distribution process.

I personally think that these days it will be necessary to draw a direct link between “Writer” and “Book Buyer”/”Reader”. With online platforms like Goodreads, Amazon, and various blogging sites, writers and readers now can easily engage with each other in the life cycle of a book. Wouldn’t it be a great way to promote book sales if reading becomes more interactive?

Image Credict: International Book Promotion

23 thoughts on “The Life Cycle of A Book”

  1. It would be great if readers were more interactive. Perhaps cynically, I sometimes think a person can read a book because someone else has read it, and they cannot join in the conversation until they know the story. In other words, books can become conversation points, sometimes regardless of merit, and those that to do that often languish however they are published.


  2. I’ve always needed a chart to show the publishing process. Now I have one. Thank you! And thank you for liking my blog.


  3. And then there’s the author who while writing was unable to find a single agent willing even to talk to her and so approached a publishing company directly, and was published … Not that they did anything to help me, mind !
    Still, as money was NEVER my goal, the fact that my blogsite’s publicity for the book has resulted in many people’s reading it, I’m happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think this is an excellent representation of the general tasks that need to be carried out. I would draw two heads on the arrow between the author and editor, though, to represent the back-and-forth that occurs. Editors often have a lot of creative impact, especially for fiction. These days, more and more of the production and design is being pushed back on the author, particularly for nonfiction work. My last book was published with an academic publisher and they expected me to do my own typesetting and send them “print ready” pdf proofs, which is something we will probably see more of. Also, in practice many of these tasks, at almost every level, would be jobbed out to various freelancers, especially at a smaller publishing company.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Cool graphic. I studied book production in university and we looked at how the book trade is changing today. The author and the reader have a lot more influence in the actual production of books (marketing, design, etc). Definitely useful stuff to note


    1. That seems a bit scary, actually. I can imagine getting to the point of having a fresh manuscript written, but the design or marketing of it is a pretty special trade I don’t even have a vague idea about.


      1. Hey Joseph, that’s essentially why I created this platform — so that writers can learn more about the publishing process and become capable of protecting their rights, and publishing practitioners can share views about what’s going on in the industry. Scariness only comes out of unknownness, but it never hurts to learn more and more and more! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on Writing Well and commented:
    Publishing Insights offers a good start illustration of the process. Critical Consciousness makes an excellent observation about the need for initial funding. I’d add that to promote interactivity, writers could take cues from popular musicians, i.e. hype an upcoming announcement, release snippets, live podcast Q&A’s, added marketing inserts with purchase to engage the reader online.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s actually not self-publishing that is the problem you describe – it’s the lack of proper editing, which way too many writers think they can skip. It is unfortunate that there is no acid test for a good read when it is self-published. Traditionally published books at least promise thorough editing. I’ve bought way too many 99 cent books that I stop reading by page 5.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. We’re all definitely going to have to keep getting more and more creative when it comes to distribution and ways of selling. I’m intrigued by Amazon’s short story platform, but don’t love Amazon as a company. The more options, the better for everyone, typically.

    Liked by 2 people

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