Book Publishing is an adventure with a team of dedicated experts forming a block of the process. From book editing to book production, to marketing and sales, the process is a conglomerate of brains and experts who work tirelessly together to get the manuscript from the author’s desk into the hands of the readers.
Having examined the book editing stage, and the role of the editor in refining the author’s message, we’ll then move ahead to unravel the intricacies of book production. After the manuscript leaves the editorial, it goes into the hands of the production department.
The book production department is responsible for the design, layout, printing, and/or e-book coding of the finished book. At this stage, a host of hands design and lay out the pages of the book, determine its size and page count, work to get the cover of the book designed, and see the book through printing and binding or e-book creation.
The Line of Book Production
Book production officially begins when the editor submits the final review of the manuscript to the copyeditor. At this point, the manuscript is “in production”.
The first contact in the production department is the copyeditor. A copyeditor reviews and corrects written material to improve accuracy, readability, and appropriateness, and to ensure that it is free of error, omission, inconsistency, and repetition.
A copy editor’s mandate also includes keeping an eye out for libel (defamatory untruths that could lead to lawsuits) and errors of fact. In magazine and book publishing, this is usually considered an essential task. The copyedited manuscript is sent back to the editor and author with queries from the copyeditor. Furthermore, the author and the editor answer the queries and consult to finalize the text.
Afterwards, the manuscript goes in for design and layout.
Page Design and Layout
The design and layout of a book helps bring a manuscript to life. And it reflects and enhances the feel of the book. The design and interior formatting tells the reader whether yours is a professional book. It also affects the reading experience of your audience.
Hence, the design stage is critical to the marketing and sales of the book. Significantly, a rapt attention is paid to creativity, and graphics.
For books with art programs: In art-, photo- or illustration-heavy books (such as cookbooks or coffee table books or do-it-yourself instruction books), the author is often looped in during the page design process.
Once a design is finalized by the team, an entire “dummy” book is created, and all parties review the page layouts, to fit copy, to gauge the appropriateness of art-to text–and to make changes, as necessary. There may be more than one dummy book stage to be reviewed.
Book Printing, Binding and Shipping
This is the last stage of the production process. Once the pages are final, an index is created, typeset, and proofread. The author pays for the indexing. This is outlined in the book contract and the money is deducted from the advance against royalties.
The files are now reviewed for any issues and prepped for manufacturing. Copies of the final, clean files are simultaneously sent to the printer for printing and binding, and to a file converter who provides the e-book version of the book.
Samples of the printed book are distributed to the author, the editor and the agent, but the bulk of the printed books are generally used for publicity mailings to media and for the sales departments to give to accounts.
The books are then shipped to the publisher’s warehouse for marketing, publicity and promotions.
In a parallel timeframe to printing and shipping, properly coded e-book files are made available to the online retailers via data feeds from the publisher. The bookseller offers them for purchase and they are downloaded by consumers through their websites.