Choosing a publisher for your novel is a big decision. You deserve to know what you will receive in exchange for signing that contract, so we want to be as transparent as possible with prospective authors. Here is our process.

Developmental editing

First, we provide a developmental edit on your completed manuscript. This includes a detailed read-through and a written report of our findings and recommendations.

A developmental edit is multi-faceted. We examine the plot, characters, theme, and organization of your novel. We look at the point of view to ensure it is an effective choice. We also assess product-market fit. Every genre has certain expectations from readers. Your novel should be unique, but it also needs to hit “the right notes” to resonate with your target audience.

After we review the written report, you will revise your novel and produce a second draft. After we read your updated manuscript, we may conduct another developmental edit. Or we may proceed to the next step.

Copy editing

Next, we copy-edit your entire manuscript. This is where we get into line-by-line details such as consistency in tense and point of view, tight dialogue, appropriate pacing, and effective sensory descriptions.

We may conduct an additional round here as well.


The final editing pass is proofreading the manuscript. This focuses primarily on spelling, grammar, and punctuation, though we may also note other changes we recommend.

Cover design

Next, we hire a graphic designer to create a cover for your novel. This will include a digital front cover for the e-book plus a spine and back cover for print editions.


Once the manuscript is complete and the cover is ready to go, we typeset your novel and create a digital proof. Then, we conduct the final review before publication.


Finally, we press the proverbial button and publish the ebook edition of your novel while also submitting the paperback files for print-on-demand.


We usually recommend KDP Select for its access to Kindle Unlimited, but this will depend on word count. If your word count is too low, the KU royalty would be much less than the royalty from an ebook sale. In this case, it will probably make sense to focus on ebook sales and possibly “go wide” with distribution in channels beyond Amazon.

Our marketing strategy has several components:

  • Optimize your Amazon book page and categories.
  • Put the book on preorder.
  • Recruit an army of ARC (Advance Review Copy) readers to receive your ebook for free in exchange for an Amazon review on release day.
  • Set up a Facebook author profile (if you do not already have one).
  • Advertise your novel on Facebook and monitor/adjust the campaign.
  • Advertise your novel on Amazon and monitor/adjust the campaign.
  • Advise you on other social media options (e.g. Twitter, TikTok, etc.).
  • Continuously monitor organic views, advertising ROI, and sales.

Rock Hard Press will cover the advertising costs for your campaigns. As you can see, we will be heavily invested in your novel’s success.

Sales example

Based on your novel’s word count, we can estimate the KU royalty for a full read-through. For example, a 100,000-word novel equates to roughly 500 KENP (Kindle Edition Normalized Pages). A full read-through would provide about a $2 royalty. If we price your ebook at $2.99 (the minimum to receive a 70% royalty), the royalty would also be about $2. In either case, your 30% cut would be $0.60 per read-through and/or ebook sale.

Hypothetically, if your novel reaches a total of 1,000 KU read-throughs and/or ebook sales, your royalty payment would be 30% of $2,000, which is $600. Our cut would be the other 70%, which is $1,400. We would consider this a successful book campaign as our production and advertising expenses would be covered.

At this point, it will be time to proceed with the second book in the series. As your series grows, you will see a long tail of sales as readers new to the series buy the older books.


We believe it is important to be transparent and realistic with regard to your book sales and royalties. The publishing world is highly competitive! It can take years to build a readership and become profitable. That is the reality of the industry.

If you are considering other publishers, please ask them for a similar summary of what they provide and how they will promote your book. And if you plan to self-publish, please go into it with a clear view of the costs involved. Editing, cover design, and advertising are investments in the success of your book.

If you have any questions or concerns about any of this, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Photo by @felipepelaquim on Unsplash