Now that your book project is underway, let's take a more in-depth look at each step, including resources and timing. The Mayfly book design process is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step approach that is always collaborative.

Step 1.


Copyediting and Proofreading

Before a designer can begin working with your manuscript, it needs to be edited, proofread, and finalized for production. A copyeditor will finish shaping your story on a broader level, and a proofreader will catch any typos and punctuation errors that might be lingering in your manuscript. Any edits that are required after this step will be worked into the Production process below during the "Author Review" stage.

  • Timing: 2–4 weeks
  • Required: Close-to-final manuscript
  • Resources and Notes: Author will work one-on-one with editor to finalize the manuscript.

Step 2.


Book Cover Design

We believe in a collaborative, creative process to ensure your vision is understood. With your direction, we will create custom cover concepts for you to review. We’ll then gather your feedback to finalize your front cover. The spine and back cover will be completed during Final Steps below.

  • Timing: 2 weeks
  • Required: Close-to-final manuscript; completed Design Form
  • Resources and Notes: We ask that you fill out our Design Form to help share your vision and get the design process heading in the right direction. We’ll then have a kick-off meeting to discuss. Cover concepts will be sent to you via email as a PDF, and we ask to receive your feedback within 5 business days.

Page Design

At this stage of the process, we are designing the overall look of your book’s interior. We will send a sample of pages for you to review, including suggestions on fonts and sizes for the body text, headings, and chapter pages. It will also include any other textual and visual elements in your book that add to the overall aesthetic and reading experience. We’ll then gather your feedback to finalize the design of your book’s interior which will be used as our custom template for typesetting.

  • Timing: 2 weeks
  • Required: Final manuscript; completed Design Form
  • Resources and Notes: Page design cannot begin until the manuscript is professionally edited and final. We’ll send the page design as a PDF. To review, print the pages to see fonts at their intended size. At this time, you are reviewing and finalizing all of the design elements inside of your book. Text edits can be identified after the first layout is complete and passed on to you for review.

Step 3.



We will now go through your manuscript page-by-page and format your book using the final, approved page design, transforming your manuscript into what will ultimately be your finished book pages. We will provide a first typeset proof of your book in a PDF format for you to review and give one last proofread.

  • Timing: 2–6 weeks, depending on length and complexity
  • Required: Approved page design
  • Resources and Notes: Please note that no last-minute editorial changes will be accepted while we are typesetting your book. Any edits or typos you find should be included when you review the first typeset proof of your book (next step below). The first proof of your book will be delivered as a PDF.

Author Review

At this time, you will read through your book one more time, which is now formatted as it will look in your printed book. No doubt unseen typos and errors will jump off the page—they always do. Don’t worry, it’s all part of the process. Better yet, pass it over to your proofreader for one more review. Mark up any edits and pass them on to us to get fixed up by our team.

  • Timing: 1–2 weeks
  • Required: First typeset proof of your book
  • Resources and Notes: This is an important step that requires the author or proofreader to review the full book. We also require you to use Adobe’s Free Acrobat Reader to mark up your edits. Here is a helpful video on how to use the Adobe markup tools. Once completed, email us your PDF with the required edits, and we’ll implement them into your book layout.
  • Additional Note: We have moved beyond working with Microsoft Word, so an updated manuscript with edits will not be accepted. You are instructing the designer on edits and changes needed, not making the edits yourself.

Final Edits and Corrections

In this stage of the Mayfly book design process, we will take the compiled edits you have marked up and make any necessary changes to the first proof in the book files. Once completed, you will be provided a second proof of your book for review and approval. Repeat the step above, if necessary. This is the time to make any final changes before we go to print.

  • Timing: 1–2 weeks, depending on edits
  • Required: Author edits from first typeset proof
  • Resources and Notes: We include up to 2 rounds of revisions. We ask that authors send second- and third-round edits within a week of receiving updated page proofs for review.

Step 4.

Final Steps

Publishing Assistance

Prior to publishing your book, we can register it with the Library of Congress and obtain ISBNs for each format of your book. We can also upload final files to your established KDP or IngramSpark account if you need assistance.

  • Timing: 1 week
  • Required: Completed Registration Form from author
  • Resources and Notes: Provide exact direction on how you’d like your book registered by completing the information on our Registration Form.

Full Cover Design

Now is the time to send us your copy for the back cover, including any endorsements, author biography, images, and any other content we’ll need to build the rest of your book cover. This includes the back cover and spine for softcover books, as well as dust jacket flaps, case cover, and endpapers for hardcovers or more complex cover projects. We will collaborate on any edits and changes needed to get a final cover file for your printer.

  • Timing: 1 week
  • Required: Back cover copy (book summary, endorsements, author biography, etc.); author photo; publisher logo; ISBN; retail price
  • Resources and Notes: Don’t forget to have all of this content proofread!

Final Approval

This is the final review process before files are sent to your printer or online distributor. Send us confirmation that everything is good to go, and we will prep the final files and send them directly to you or your printer or distributor. They will likely require one more approval step before your books are finally printed.

  • Timing: 1 week
  • Required: Author approval of final print book files
  • Resources and Notes: eBook conversion will start after print book is final.

ebook Conversion

Using your finalized print book, we can format your book to an ebook suitable for reading on all major eReading devices. We will retain as much of the formatting from the print version as possible and provide an online proof for review and approval. A final, industry-standard ePub file will be provided to you for uploading to the book retailers of your choice.

  • Timing: 1–2 weeks
  • Required: Author approval of final print book files
  • Resources and Notes: We will provide a link to retrieve your final ePub file. We suggest you upload it to your KDP account and view the ebook using their online preview tool. This will give you the opportunity to preview how it will look page-by-page from there as if you were reading it on a Kindle device. This is not a time to make any edits to your manuscript. This universal ePub file can be used to upload to any online ebook retailer you choose to sell your ebook.

Final Files to Printer

Now that your print book and ebook are complete, all final PDF files of your print book and ePub file for your ebook are ready to upload to your selected printer or online distribution partner.

  • Timing: 1–2 days
  • Required: Author approval to send final files to print
  • Resources and Notes: Final deliverables will be separate, print-ready PDF files of your book’s interior and cover, plus the EPUB file and high-resolution .jpeg file of your front cover for the eBook.