Hi. In our last post we defined what Publishing is. Publishing means making information available to the public. But how does one make information available to the public. What is the process of book publishing? Book publishing is a process that starts from the idea stage. At this stage the idea can emanate from the publisher who will then look to find authors or it can start from the author who comes up with an idea.
The idea is then conceptualized in preparation for writing. If the idea has come from the publisher, the next step would be to hunt and commission authors. Then writing begins. Writing is also a process which can take a long-time involving research. Research is needed in any form of writing as there are always facts and references include in any piece of writing.
Once writing is complete, a manuscript has to go through the evaluation stage. This is the step where editors assess and determine if the manuscript is indeed worth publishing. At this stage a manuscript can either be rejected or the author can be asked to rewrite and correct suggested areas. This process can be costly and this is why publishers prefer to work with seasoned authors or to commission their own authors based on the required expertise in subject areas.
The next step is the editing stage. A manuscript will undergo content editing to assess it is relevant for the targeted audience.
A copy editor’s work is to ensure consistency, clarity, cohesion and correctness in the manuscript. The copyeditor will eliminate repetition, libel, grammatical errors, punctuation and spelling errors to ensure a clean copy.
The copy editor marks up text for the designer, suggests pictures and graphical representation, checks tables and graphs.
Before the book is passed on to design, editors implore the role of the proofreader. The proof reader checks for flow when the book is in its final form. Proofreading is the final stage of the editing process.
The proofreader will be looking for language errors and formatting errors, missing words, typos, punctuation errors, spelling and formatting inconsistencies, and all the smaller things that have slipped through previous stages of editing.
Proofreading ensures that nothing has been missed at the copyediting stage and no errors slip through to design.
The ready and marked up copy is then passed on to page layout and design. At this stage, any possible rewriting is avoided as that will entirely disturb the text. Editors prefer to make all their content changes before design. This is because Adobe design software packages are different from Microsoft word packages. For instance, any slight word change in the design can shift the entire page if not the entire book and that will mean redoing certain things.
While editors do not entirely close out all possible text changes, they advise that they may be changes that cannot be lived with. This is the reason why the editing stage is a cumbersome process which ensures all errors and all content is in order. A thorough proofreader also serves to deal away with this problem.
The designed copy is then taken back to the editor. At this stage, the editor’s role is to check the designed copy vs the marked up. Editors are mostly particular about the presentation pf graphics vs the content. For instance, placement of images, graphs and chats matters viz a viz reference to them.
Use of colour and fonts is also observed at this stage. Proper heading styles and page backgrounds. Editors are architects of the book’s design so they supervise the designed work.
Design changes are welcomed at this change. These may mainly be picture replacements, shifting images, colour changes to ensure coordination in the text layout.
With excellent and seasoned designers, most of these changes can be minimal.
The proofreader is also implored to check the text again as most errors tend to surface when the book has been designed. The editor/proofreader may also take time to shorten text where ages to do not balance or to add.
Because publishing is a process, these processes can be repetitive as changes taken to the designer will still need to be checked to ensure that they were implemented before a book can be declared final.
Once design and all possible changes are finalized, the electronic copy of the book is ready. This is usually saved in PDF. Distribution of the electronic copy can now begin.
However, if the publisher is producing printed copies, the next stage after the final designed copy is printing.
Printing is also a process on its own and we will discuss this in a separate article.
I hope I’ve managed to clarify on the publishing process. If there are any questions, I would be happy to respond to any. Drop your questions here or kindly email me on firstname.lastname@example.org