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Open Right

Melissa Keil: Talk: How To Make A Book

Session Info:

I am both a writer and in-house editor, so have insight into publication from both sides of the process. My aim is to show budding writers that the words they put down on a page are only a starting point. Refining, polishing and perfecting your work is long, messy and sometimes arduous – but nothing ever needs to be perfect from the outset.

No writer, no matter how skilled, ever writes a perfect first draft. This is the process – from initial idea, to finished book.

Making a book is a collaborative process, requiring the skills and talents of many people. But who are they, and what exactly do they do?

A brief inside look at the Life in Outer Space journey, from the first idea spark, through writing, editorial, to finished novel.

It takes more than a writer to make and publish a book. This is the collaborative process – from initial idea all the way through to finished book – and some of the people behind the scenes who make a book happen.

The presentation will offer a brief, entertaining overview of everything from drafting, to editing, to cover design.


  • So you’ve finished a first draft – now what?
  • What do publishers look for in a manuscript? What happens ‘in house’, and why do some good books get rejected?
  • What is an editor? How much influence do they have on a finished book?
  • What does the editorial process look like? How many drafts do writers go through before they see their work on a bookstore shelf?
  • How is a book cover made, and who decides on the look of a book?

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