The Decay Within – Production Diary, Part 1 – Pre-production

In April of this year, I started a new journey. I signed a contract with Tate Publishing and Enterprises for the production of my second Bible Study book entitled The Decay Within: A Study of Amos. It is exciting, exhilarating, nerve-wracking, and nail-biting all at the same time. This time around, I want to be able to share the process of how a book goes from manuscript to finished product. I’d like to invite you to share in the journey as I write about each stage of the process and ask for your feedback.

Once Tate receives a signed contract, like the one I signed in April, the manuscript goes in line for “production.” This is where The Decay Within is at right now. In line, waiting it’s turn to be molded into a wonderful finished product. For those of us who are super excited, waiting in line gets tiresome. So, I wanted to just start by sharing the steps to production so we all know what to expect over the next several months. 

Manuscript Preparation

The first official step is the preparation of the manuscript. Once I signed the contract, Tate sent me some guidelines on how to prepare my manuscript to successfully go through the editing phases. Essentially, I have to strip my manuscript of all the fancy fonts and dramatic styles that I had given it while in a Microsoft Word document. Basically, I laid the manuscript bare. All the charts, tables, graphs, even all those wonderful lines for responses that I put in my studies had to come out. When I got finished, I had just the meat of the message in a plain font covering only about 60% of the number of pages that it had originally been. Reading back over that was really helpful for me because it allowed me to see whether the message itself stands on it’s own. God’s word and His message are powerful and should be able to stand on their own without a lot of frills. This is a great place to start thinking about areas that I need to rework, but now is not the time to edit. Now is the time to go and stand in line. The Decay Within manuscript was prepared and submitted in April, shortly after I signed the contract.


The Decay Within
is set to start Copy Editing in June, so just a couple of weeks away. This is the first step that Tate gets involved with. I will receive an email from my Copy Editor around the beginning of June. That Editor will spend the month of June going over the grammar, punctuation, and spelling of The Decay Within to tweak it, fine tune it, and take out the glaring and obvious mistakes. This is the final step to make sure that the manuscript is as clean as possible before really digging into it.

Conceptual Editing

Starting in July, I’ll receive an email from my Conceptual Editor. This is the person I’ll be interacting with to dig into the essence of The Decay Within. My Conceptual Editor will pour over the manuscript, reading and internalizing it. He or she will be looking for consistency, flow, and asking the basic question, “Does this make sense?” These notes will be given to me around the end of July. I’ll be able to take a look at The Decay Within through a fresh set of eyes. I’ll have a couple of weeks go over these suggestions, rework, rewrite, and redo. If it’s anything like last time with Without Regrets, I’ll agonize over how I’ve phrased certain things and talk myself into and out of lots of different changes before it’s all over. It will be an intense couple of weeks! Once I finish, I’ll submit all my changes and my Conceptual Editor will review them to make sure they fit and there are no glaring grammar, punctuation, or spelling issues, along with consistency or flow issues. The whole process usually takes a couple of months, give or take a couple of weeks.

Cover Design

Sometime during the middle of Conceptual Editing, I’ll be assigned a Graphic Designer to give The Decay Within the spectacular cover that I know it is going to have. With Without Regrets, my designer called and we talked over the basic idea of the book, my goals for the book, and who my audience was intended to be. He then came back with several design options for me to review. I actually didn’t think that any of the first options were quite right, so we went back to the drawing board and reviewed more options and eventually I settled on the amazing “light at the end of the tunnel” look that is the cover of Without Regrets.

I can’t wait to see what amazing ideas the designer is going to present for The Decay Within and I’ll need your input to help me choose!


Once I finish Conceptual Editing and have chosen my cover, The Decay Within will head over to Layout where another designer will take a look at the cover design and then will format the rest of the book with a similar font and style. They’ll go back in and plug in the graphs, pictures, lines and everything else that was originally stripped away. I’ll get an electronic copy of some of the pages after a few weeks so I can review and make sure I agree with the font, margins, etc. At the end of the layout process, they’ll send me a proof copy of The Decay Within. This will be my first opportunity to see and hold the book. I’ll have a final chance to review the book, note any changes or problems, point out any formatting concerns or layout issues (for example, I like to have all my blank lines on the same page if I can work it that way). Once I’ve make my final corrections, I’ll send back the proof copy, so they can send it off to the printer and I’ll move on to Marketing.


Once I make it here, I’ll get to start order and receive my Pre-sale copies of The Decay Within. I’ll start taking pre-sale orders once The Decay Within makes it into Conceptual Editing and then when we get here, I’ll be able to start shipping those out to people. Once I make it to marketing, the real work begins. It will be 90 days before it will be available on and the other online retailers. I’ll be continuing to search for opportunities to have launch parties, books signings, and speaking engagements. All in all, it will be a bustle of activity and excitement. Based on the schedule I’ve seen, I’m hoping to have the pre-release copies late this year with an official release date early 2012. As we move through the schedule, I’ll let you know more specifics.

The Next Book

Somewhere in the midst of all this, I’m thinking about and considering and researching for the next book after Amos. I have some ideas and we’ll see where they end up. In the meantime, be watching for part 2 of this production diary for The Decay Within, which will be coming as soon as I enter the Copy Editing stage!

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