A professional publisher adheres to a set of widely accepted industry standards, regardless of the business model. There are 3 common models for publishing in today's market: traditional publishing, hybrid publishing, and author publishing.
Traditional Publishing and Hybrid Publishing are virtually the same in their process with the exception that for hybrid titles, the author invests with the publisher in the production costs and in turn earns a significantly higher royalty on sales.
In an Author Publisher model, the author of the book assumes the role of publisher and commits to fulfilling the publisher's professional responsibilities. We use our expertise and resources to help the author meet professional standards and to assist the author throughout the process. The final book is published under a brand established by the author. The author earns 100% of the profits from the sales and shares no royalties or rights with Torchflame Books.
The following is a brief overview of our publishing process:
Submissions are carefully reviewed by a Submissions Editor who recommends that a title be further reviewed or rejected by the Selections Committee. Most submissions fail at this point. If accepted for review by the Selections Committee, the title goes to a review editor for an in-depth analysis according to the Torchflame Books evaluation criteria, which includes storyline, writing, character development, dialogue, flow, and potential interest to the target audience. Some of the manuscripts that make it past this point are returned to the author with requested changes and others are forwarded to the Senior Editor who makes a final selection for contract offers.
A very small handful of titles are recommended for traditional publishing through our imprint Light Messages Publishing. Others are recommended for either hybrid publishing through Torchflame Books or for the Author Publisher model under the author's own imprint.
The process is rigorous, but as an indie publisher we only release a few dozen titles each year, so we must be highly selective in the books for which we offer publishing contracts.
When a book is accepted for publication, we ask the author to make a final review of their manuscript for accuracy and consistency of names, dates, use of first, second, and third person, verb tense, transitions, and style using the Chicago Manual of Style and submit it to us in MS Word format. In some cases, where the author consistently adheres to another accepted style such as APA, AP, MLA, or the NY Times that may be acceptable, but we do prefer CMOS.
Developmental and line editing
Traditional and hybrid books will be reviewed in detail by a professional editor for developmental and line editing.
The author must approve changes and make requested edits and/or discuss them with the editor. This step may go through more than one iteration. It is the last opportunity for content or stylistic changes. Only corrections will be allowed after this point.
For the author publisher model, the author is responsible for hiring and working with a professional editor. We are happy to provide recommendations.
All edited manuscripts, regardless of the publishing model, will be sent to a copy editor for final review of accuracy and correctness of spelling and punctuation. Those changes must be approved by the author.
The author’s approved text will be converted into a professional layout.
A proof of the initial design will be sent to the author as a PDF file for review and corrections. The author must review all proofs carefully. Suggestions will be accepted for the layout in advance, but content or stylistic changes cannot be made once the text has been laid out.
After the final PDF proof has been approved, a digital ARC is produced and sent to the author for use in obtaining reviews and endorsements.
For hybrid and author publisher titles, a limited number of author copies will be printed and sent to the author before the release date. These copies should be used by the author to obtain endorsements and professional reviews.
Traditional titles are on a different timeline for publication, and as such Light Messages handles the solicitation of reviews for these titles.
Final Version for Release
The author copies may contain errors, which can be corrected before the release date. We will correct errors found in the pre-release copies and may make discretionary changes requested by the author at the same time. Discretionary changes made after a book is in distribution may incur additional charges.
Appearance and Standards
The appearance or packaging of your book is essential to its success. While appearance can’t make up for inadequate content, exceptionally well written books go unnoticed in weak covers. Important reviewers and contest judges look for key elements on both the front and back covers before they ever open a book.
The aesthetics of a book need to be right for the title and the content. The imagery on the cover, the title font, chapter titles, body font, line spacing, and overall page design must be functional to make reading the book easy, attractive, and appropriate to the story. Readers want a book to have the right look and feel for its genre. They will reject a book that is difficult to read.
For all of our titles, regardless of the publishing model, we ensure the cover and internal layout create a marketable book that is enticing to readers.
We follow the Chicago Manual of Style and the IBPA Standards for a Professionally Published Book.