The publishing process
1. Manuscript assessment
Is your text suitable for publication? Is it fit for purpose? How succinctly and successfully does it address the subject?
If non-fiction, does it provide valuable new information or perspective on its subject?
If fiction, how well does it tell the story?
We can give your work an honest and informed appraisal before any editing and design work is commenced.
Copy editing involves correcting and standardising spelling, punctuation and grammar, and ensuring there is consistency in tone, ‘voice’, and usage. A good copy editor can also highlight potential problems, such as
A copy editor may also advise on the use of a foreword, acknowledgements, footnotes, bibliography, and index.
Structural editing refers to the ‘shape’, flow, pace and extent of the narrative.
Is the content presented in the best sequence, enabling the story to unfold in a cohesive and engaging way? Is the quality of the writing consistent? Has the author employed language suitable for the subject matter?
If fiction, are the characters and situations believable? Is the dialogue credible and appropriate for the characters speaking those words?
The narrative framework must serve its purpose. A skilled structural editor can bring out the best in what the author has written, cutting extraneous material, suggesting rewrites, and ‘making every word count’.
3. Design & Artwork
Generally, design and artwork stages are not begun until after the author and/or publisher have approved the edited manuscript.
The front cover design should not only communicate the ‘intention’ of the book, it should sell it, just as a shop window invites the consumer into the store. And yes, people judge a book by its cover.
The test of a great cover design is that you involuntarily reach for the book. The best designs have the X factor – you get it in a glance.
Design of the text pages is equally important. It includes
typography – astute selection and use of typestyles
layout – how the contents are presented on the page
format – portrait or landscape; page dimensions
ensuring that all elements are balanced, enabling the reader to easily access the content
Proofreading should be done progressively. A manuscript should first be proofed by a suitably skilled person before the author submits it to an editor.
The editor checks, corrects and amends the manuscript while working through it, and will proofread the text again before submitting it to the designer.
After the text has been flowed into the layout, a final proofread will be done before printing. Proofreading is therefore done multiple times, most importantly before production is begun and after the artwork has been completed.
Want to know all about indexing, from A to Z? This is not the place, but we can say that indexing is often advisable for a non-fiction book, so the reader can quickly locate information or themes, and more easily navigate around the content.
A basic index shows a list of names, places and subjects, while a more comprehensive one encompasses concepts and drills down into the subject matter in successive layers or levels.
Indexing is not done until the layout has been finalised.
Tip: while the indexer’s job differs from that of the proofreader, they will often spot an error or inconsistency that even a first-rate proofreader has missed. That’s because they bring a fresh pair of eyes, approach the content in a different way, and will likely spend much more time indexing than the proofreader will spend proofing.
6. Printing & Shipping
Dealing with printers is a vital stage of production. This is where things get exciting for the author and/or independent publisher, who will soon see the final product in their hands.
Specifying paper stocks, negotiating prices, liaising over timing and shipping arrangements, handling customs and wharf changes (where import is involved) are all part of the process.
Streamline has had many years’ experience working with New Zealand and Asian printers, shipping to USA, Canada, UK, Germany, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.
7. Distribution & Marketing
This is the domain of the traditional publisher – and now, the self-publisher – and while we are happy to advise our clients, we are not directly involved in these aspects.
What is a packager?
In publishing terms, a ‘packager’ is a company like Streamline Creative offering outsourced publishing services and/or project management, without taking ownership of the product. The publisher’s imprint (not the packager’s) is on the book.
The packager might help an author to find a publisher, or guide a self-publishing author through the production process.
Although the packager functions like a surrogate publisher, there are important differences. A packager does not own the project and is usually not involved in marketing and distribution. The owner bears the cost and risk of putting the book into the marketplace.