Seeing the Whole Process - Part 1

Seeing the Whole Process - Part 1

Posted on February 22 by Kathryn in Teens
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Publishing is an exercise in patience, collaboration, and organization. Everyone at Dundurn Press plays an important role in getting books from a raw manuscript to the finished product you end up reading.

I started working at Dundurn Press last September as the editorial intern. While I had completed a publishing program and had a broad understanding of the industry, I was still completely surprised by the amount of time and teamwork it takes to create a book from scratch.

The first book I worked on as an intern was Sadia, by Colleen Nelson. My role in that project was completing a “fresh eyes read,” which is when someone who has never worked on the manuscript reads through the entire book to check for any remaining typos, or other minor errors that have slipped through the cracks or have been introduced while other errors were being fixed. This is one of the very last steps in the editorial process, and it takes places just before the book goes to print.  It was exciting to be involved in such a great project, but what surprised me was how much had already been done on this book, and how much was still left to do.

Because I first saw Sadia from an editorial viewpoint, I’ll start my overview of the publishing process by discussing the general editorial process at Dundurn.

Before I saw the manuscript, Dundurn’s acquisitions editor received the proposal, read the manuscript, and made a decision about whether or not it was a title Dundurn would be interested in publishing. If the acquisitions editor likes the project (which he did, in this case), he presents it to the publishing board, which makes a group decision about whether the company will proceed with the project. If the publishing board decides to take on the project, a contract outlining the details of the publishing agreement is negotiated and signed by the author and by Dundurn.

Once the book is signed, the real work begins! The author sends in the most recent version of their work, and a developmental editor gets to work to make sure the writing is as clear and engaging as possible. At this stage, the author and editor address character development, plot, and the pace of the story. Once the author and the editor are happy with the manuscript, it goes on for copy editing to correct any discrepancies in consistency, clarity, tone, style, grammar, spelling, and the like. The copy editor also ensures that the manuscript follows the house style. Once these changes are made, the design department, which has already been hard at work designing to cover for the book, lays out the interior of the book and inputs all of the text into the format the final reader will see (stay tuned for next month’s blog post for more detail about all of the amazing work Dundurn’s design team does!). When this new version is ready, the manuscript goes to the proofreading stage, where another reader notes any remaining errors in spelling or grammar, bad word breaks, and any formatting inconsistencies. Finally, the manuscript goes to fresh eyes for one last check before the files are sent to the printer.

The printer sends Dundurn a copy of the finished product to check (again!) before the entire print run is completed. If any last changes are required, they are made at this stage. If not, the books are printed and sent out to stores.

This might sound like a lot of work – and it absolutely is – but I haven’t even touched on the marketing, publicity, and sales departments yet! In January, I started a new position at Dundurn Press as the Marketing Associate. I am still learning all of the ways our marketing, publicity, design, and sales teams work to get our authors’ books into the hands of eager readers. Stay tuned for next month’s blog post for an overview of the other half of the publishing process.