Episode Five: How A Book is Made

In which Eddy, Dixie, and Matthew discuss the process of making a product for Onyx Path, from initial pitch to final printed product.

  • Pitches – what is the book intended to do? What’s the value to the reader?
  • Cold pitches vs pitches from a known quantity
  • Pugmire pitch as an example
  • Outlines and hiring the freelance project developer
  • What traits do we look for in a developer?
  • Steffie de Vaan as an example of a great new developer
  • Then we contract writers
  • Some writers are unsuitable, but that’s not the same as “bad”
  • Matthew interrupts to say he never interrupts
  • We often assume a writer is specialized, when that may not be the case
  • Then on to team planning, research, and first drafts
  • Collaboration is often key during the first draft stage
  • Matthew uses the Contagion Chronicle as an example
  • The first draft is not literally the first thing you write – there’s an amount of polish needed
  • Eddy uses Dystopia Rising as an example of redlines, and how work on that project differs from Contagion Chronicle
  • Lexicon can be a real pain in the ass
  • Redlines as a teaching tool for writers
  • Then the final drafts go off to development
  • Dixie talks about the editing process, and the kinds of things she edits for
  • We sing the praises of the Chicago Manual of Style
  • Dixie confesses to Googling style questions, while Matthew talks a bit about American vs British English
  • You can’t turn editor brain off
  • The one-sided conversation between the editor and developer, but that’s changing
  • Style evolves, however, as Dixie mentions on the 20th anniversary books
  • Meanwhile, art notes and layout
  • The errata phase, because we’re not perfect
  • Finally, indexing and printer proofs!
  • Why we take the time to make sure the book is as good as it can be
  • Matthew explains how he got his Twitter handle
  • Eddy tries to wrap things up, but Matthew steals the mic to issue a challenge to Dixie
  • Next episode, we interview the boss, Rich Thomas!

10 thoughts on “Episode Five: How A Book is Made”

          • Thanks Eddy. Have to say this conversation has been enlightening and I have enjoyed it figuring out the processes that create the book and how much work goes into it. Just wondering as this wasn’t mentioned but on average what is the total time it takes a book to go from pitch to printing? Or is that something utterly dependent on the book itself?

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