How the book came to be / Part 2

[continued from previous post]

By then, most of the agents I had contacted had declined representing me. Many never replied at all. I had also received a number of declines from publishers – either because the manuscript didn’t fit their list, because they didn’t like my style or approach, or only specialized in college or university textbooks. However, some publishers asked to be sent the entire manuscript for review by external readers – mostly academics and published authors. The reviews were positive and I started receiving more offers.

To ensure accuracy and to seek permission to publish, I sent the larger case studies to the issuers themselves for review. I also did the same with the sections on listing requirements, which I forwarded to the various stock exchanges. In some instances it was difficult to identify the right person at the outset and my query went from department to department until I received an answer (sometimes after quite a bit of following up on my part). I also took legal advice on a few topical issues and showed the entire manuscript to more people. I received a number of comments and suggestions, many of which contributed to enhancing the quality of the book.

I had a dialogue with Hong Kong University Press (HKU Press) at a relatively early stage. They appeared interested and also had the manuscript reviewed by some external readers. By then, I had received four other offers to publish the book, including from major business publishing houses, and a fifth one was well on its way. My dialogue with HKU Press intensified in September 2010 and I finally signed with them to publish the book by April 2011, with a separate Chinese language edition also already committed.

Once the publishing deal was signed, the next step was the delivery of the entire, near-final manuscript to the publisher. That entailed a fair amount of re-drafting, including re-checking all technical and numerical information prior to submission – and took the best part of a month. The publisher then reverted with questions and (mainly) minor style comments through copy-editing. One actually learns a lot through that process! Several rounds of copy-editing took place before the manuscript could be sent to the production team for further (light) copy-editing and formatting, and then for type-setting.

At the same time, work took place on the book cover. The colour and themes were identified and refined through several stages. Wording was also agreed for the copy to be included in the publisher’s catalogue. Further actions were discussed with the marketing team for the promotion of the book with the media – and the wider world. For example, this is when work also started on this website.

The next step will be when the typeset proofs are returned to me for further checking. At that stage, the pagination will have been finalised so only light further editing will be permitted. Page numbers will then be added to the index. Signing off on the back page will also happen at that stage. The book will then be sent to print, before finding its way to bookshops and readers. Overall, the process from signing the publishing contract to the printing of the book will have taken the best part of six months.