What is “Production”? “Editorial Coordination”?
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that not everyone has spent decades making books (!), and that terms used at BW&A might need “translation” for folks working with us for the first time. When we describe such general categories of BW&A’s work as “editorial coordination” and “production,” we’re using short-hand phrases that describe a variety of project management tasks.
We classify tasks as “editorial” if they deal with the words in the book. Examples include:
– Assessing the manuscript. Does the manuscript need a light edit just for grammatical errors and stylistic consistency? Could it use a heavier edit to make the phrasing or transitions more graceful? Does the structure need work? Are there special concerns like foreign language, complex tables, or different styles of source citation?
– Hiring and overseeing the best freelancers for the project. Does the book need an academic copyeditor, or would one who works well with a casual writing style be better? Should the proofreader focus only on issues the average reader is likely to notice, or mark every technically misplaced comma? Should the book have a streamlined or highly detailed index?
– Routing queries. BW&A will help the author and freelancers work together to resolve and questions, whether they are about specific sentences or about more general style issues.
– Coordinating editorial review and proofing. The author and client usually have at least 3 opportunities to review the edited manuscript and typeset proofs. We provide specific instructions about what issues are important at each stage.
– Library of Congress and copyright. BW&A will help register the publisher/book with the Library of Congress for a PCN (preassigned card number) if appropriate. When the book is published, we’ll submit the application for copyright registration on behalf of our client.
This work is similar to the role a general contractor takes on a construction project. It includes such tasks as:
– Drafting a schedule that coordinates stages of work for all parties: the author/publisher, editorial freelancers, designer, typesetter, indexer, printer and binder. Once the schedule has been adjusted for everyone’s comfort, the project manager is responsible for keeping everyone on track and on time.
– Helping choose the binding format and printing method that best suits our client’s intended audience and market. This can range from advice on the physical size of the book, to domestic versus overseas printing, to the most appropriate e-book format.
– Planning the manufacturing process, and making sure that all the pre-press work will coordinate with the chosen printing/distribution methods. Design, typesetting, and graphic standards may differ, depending on whether the book will be printed in full color overseas, or in a limited edition locally as a “print-on-demand” project.
– Purchasing agent: BW&A prepares manufacturing specifications, and usually conducts a round of competitive bidding once all the specifications are final. We analyze the bid results, and present them to our clients for their choice of printing company. BW&A prepares purchase orders on behalf of our clients.
– Managing the budget, and reporting on the project’s financial progress. Once a budget is accepted, our project manager is responsible for keeping costs on track. In case there are unexpected problems, the project manager will devise alternatives to best balance quality, time, and costs, and then confer with our client to find the optimum solution.
Taken together, our work is geared toward planning for all the components needed to complete each project on time and on budget, with work done that meets or exceeds quality standards.