Beyond the slush editors, beyond an initial read-through by me or one of our consulting editors, beyond the final decision of a hard-earned contract, what happens to a manuscript at PYP at that point? Let me count the steps …
1. Either I or a “big picture” editor will take a look at the work and make initial suggestions about overall theme, character development, story development, etc. This can take a week or more, then it’s back to the author to implement the initial suggestions. (2-4+ weeks)
2. From there it’s to me for specific line edits. This is not the proofreading, copyediting stage, but much more indepth and time-consuming. I deal with the whole ball of wax including sentence structure, filter words, word flow, sentence clarity, dialog, believability, sentence length within paragraphs, voice, and the dozens of other niggling things that sub-grade a manuscript. I usually work this with 2 or 3 chapters at a time, then they go to the author and when they come back to me, I do the next few, back to the author, etc. This can easily take several months. (3-6+ months)
3. After that, I sometimes send the work to a copyeditor for her initial thoughts. She deals with typos, wrong verb tenses, etc. The reason I include this step so early on is to give me some space from the manuscript, and to get another another perspective which is often very helpful to me. This usually takes 2 weeks or so, then to the author again. (2-4 weeks)
4. At this stage, I get the manuscript back and give it another thorough going over, catching what I missed the first time. This may take a month or two, depending on my schedule. (1-2+ months)
5. Next, either I send it back to the proofreader or I go over it again in paper (proof) form. I’m amazed at what I catch on the printed page which I missed on the screen. Corrections are made. (1+ months)
6. I do another quick read and after any lingering issues are dealt with, it goes to the text designer/formatter, and I upload another proof to hold in my hands. I usually send the author a copy at this point so he/she can give it a read-through as well to spot those last few typos we missed. (2 weeks to 1 month)
7. If all is well, and it never is (we have a fantastic book designer who’s used to our last second “can we change this, please?” pleas), we send it to the printer, along with the cover (which has been dealt with individually but simultaneously, and gets the same painstaking care) and we have a book both we and the author can be very proud of.
Our books are some of the handsomest, most well-written books in the industry for a press our size, and we regularly compete with books from much larger presses and do quite well. Why? Is it because we’re so much better? No, it’s because we take our job seriously and are committed to putting in the work necessary to produce lasting works of excellence. In this age of hurry-rush large press mass-market books and small POD presses run by impatient and under-qualified staff and self-publishers who have very little idea what they’re doing, Port Yonder Press wants to stand out by way of lasting quality and maximum impact books.
Is there author disappointment at the time factor? Sure. Who wants to go through a year+ of drawn-out edits?
Is there frustration at deadlines flying by? Absolutely. And who ever plans for sideliners like concussions? Not me!
But beyond all that … lies a very good book, and that’s what we’re after.
If you’re considering any size press for your next manuscript, but especially a small press, the best way to decide if they’re “good enough” is to buy their products and test them yourself.
By the way, Port Yonder has open submissions in February this year – next month. Do read our guidelines and do consider us as a potential press for your very best work.
Managing Editor, Port Yonder Press