It must have been very important to you the book you have read yesterday, awhile ago, or right now while you are hardly making sense out of it. The day I learned to read, I never had a thought how the book I read was born—from its conception to its birth, no-nonsense.
The book you are reading right now, be it in hardbound or in digital, undergoes a number of stages painstakingly threaded to its almost perfect author’s masterpiece. How it becomes a book from being a manuscript, that is, from scratch to a well-polished gem, is a no joke for every editor and proofreader and every son of the production team who by all means of “jokes” the scratch is finally on-display!
Book Publishing Stages or Processes
Different book publishing companies have different approaches, yet similar in substance when it comes to book publishing processes. Some have strict stages; others have loose approaches making the ends of the processes outright embarrassing. The guide post? Stick to the process; Give the process its time to move. No shortcuts to prevail; not even a delaying tactic to detour the process if we consider time equally important to quality. The following is just a streamlined book publishing process:
- Authorship Hunting. Like marketing, it is a complex art and science of prospecting. Spotting for a market, looking after the author prospect, devising plan of approaches, managing the prospect to invest trust, formulating contract, and persuading the same to walk through the journey of authorship. However, the task of a commissioning editor or an acquisition editor doesn’t end there. It walks through the journey of an author throughout the whole process.
- Manuscript (MS) Evaluation. A manuscript is evaluated by a committee of editors comprising an editor-in-chief, content development editors, language and subject specialist editors, and an editorial consultant. Their task is to decide the manuscript on its content, marketability, and acceptability. The latter matters. It speaks of the volume of errors that spell out the depth of revision it may cost.
- Content Development Editing. A content development editor develops the content of the manuscript according to competency and curriculum of the subject matter. This is a substantial editing.
- Language and Content Editing. A language and subject specialist editor steps in. It looks after the proper weaving of the language command used, points out and repairs any language syntax or grammar rules deviation, and guards the level of skills and competence and the appropriateness of the content vis-a-vis the subject matter.
- Copyediting/Proofreading. This is where the keen eyes, the sharp minds, and the analytical skill and judgment based on wide subject knowledge and experience of editors, associate editors, and editorial assistant come in. This is an editorial production process that takes time, energy, and wits to copyedit both substantive and mechanical. Editors read and re-read, and edit and proofread then re-read a time and again if they want. Most of the time, editors could almost memorize the words printed on the preface, on the bibliography page, and even the characters printed on the front and back cover, the top and the bottom of the covers, the spine, and even the periods and the commas, as well as the apostrophes. No excuses.
Now, while you are into finishing the last paragraph of the book you are reading right now, have you ever thought how much of an ounce of efforts editors put into each book you had seen yesterday on display? What’s your say? ▲