Friday, March 28, 2008

Heartsong Editorial Process

I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about the editorial process of producing a Heartsong book. For such small books, they go through a big amount of work before they’re published! Obviously our established Heartsong authors know most of the drill, but for anyone else who’s interested, here are all the editorial steps to get a Heartsong from the author’s electronic file into attractive, mass-market size, paperback books, ready for readers to enjoy:

Receive Full Manuscript: I “check in” a full manuscript with a word count check and, if needed, a quick reformat of the text (I prefer single-spaced, Times New Roman, 11-point font), then save it in my files.

Content Review: I schedule the manuscript for content review with either Rachel Overton or myself. (Big thanks to Rachel Overton for her great freelance work! I don't know how I'd ever content review 52 books a year on my own!)

Copy Edit: If the content review wasn’t extensive, the manuscript now goes on to a freelance copy editor who will work with the author on the content review comments and add his/her own. If the content review did bring up a lot of necessary or drastic changes (and sometimes if we’re just well ahead of schedule), then I send the manuscript back to the author for revision before it goes on to copy edit. I have a team of about five wonderful copy editors who I can call on regularly.

Front Matter: After I receive a manuscript from copy edit, I review and accept changes, then add in the front matter for the book, which includes the teaser page text, author bio and dedication, title page, and copyright info. Then I send the manuscript to Managing Editor Annie Tipton who will schedule and oversee proofreading and typesetting along with Connie Troyer.

First Proof: The manuscript is proofread electronically within the Word document by a freelance proofreader.

Typesetting: The manuscript goes to our fabulous team of typesetters (Sharon, Lorrie, Catherine, and Yolanda) where one of them will lay out the book in Adobe InDesign.

Second Proof: Once the book is set, it goes on to a second “paper proof” by a freelance proofreader.

Author Galley: After changes from second proof have been implemented, a PDF of the typeset version of the book is emailed to the author for approval and any last-minute minor changes.

Final Review: At this final stage, I get one last look at the book, verify that front matter is correct and add in any back matter (ad pages and such) and then sign off on the book’s job envelope so that files can go to the printer.

Whew! That’s a lot of work times 52 books a year! And I’m blessed to work with great authors, freelancers, and team of people at Barbour who help make it all happen.

Oh, and the cover design is a process all its own, but I already blogged about that here.

Happy Friday!

(The photo is of Jodi and me on Easter morning. I hope you had a wonderful day celebrating our risen Savior!)


Pam Hillman said...

JoAnne, thanks for the list of things that have to happen to turn a manuscript into a book.

I imagine holding the first book you put through the system was almost as exciting as it is for a first-time author.

Now, I have a question. If all goes according to schedule, approximately how many months does all of the above take to happen?

Or a better question might be, what would be an ideal time frame?

Myra Johnson said...

Interesting insight into the publishing process--thanks, JoAnne! And 52 times a year! Wow!

I'm with Pam--curious to know how long the entire process takes, from accepting a manuscript to holding the book in your hands.

Lynette Sowell said...

Jodi is such a cutie, I have to say first. I really MISS buying cute little girl outfits for mine at Easter. She's 16 now...sigh...

Thanks for sharing the MS to book process with us. :)

Linda Ford said...

Your daughter is so cute. I just want to hug her.

Thanks for sharing about the process of getting a ms. ready for print. I must say, I appreciate the thoroughness of the process. I especially appreciate that HP works with electronic submissions.


Vickie said...

Thanks for sharing this info, JoAnne. Even though I'm an HP author, it's still interesting to see the steps lined out in order. There's so much involved in the process of publishing a book.

Jodie is a cutie pie! I bet she'll get tired of having those sweet cheeks tweaked when she gets older.


Janet Spaeth said...

Love the photo! I kept quitting reading to go back up and smile at the picture.

And I agree with the others--it's interesting to see how the entire process works. Wow!

I love the pictures on this blog! Jodi's smile is a certain day-brightener!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, JoAnne, for the inside look at all that goes into publishing a Heartsong novel. Sounds like a lot of work! And that's after the author has toiled for months to write a great story. Thanks for all you do!

JoAnne said...

I like to make sure we have at least 6 months from the time a manuscript is turned in until the PRF (Printer Ready File) Date. Then there's another 4-6 weeks at the printer until we have the books in our hands.

Mary Connealy said...

I'm working on content revisions right now for Clueless Cowboy. Rachel is the best. She even caught an inconsistancy from Book One of this series, which she revised a month or two ago. I'm not sure how she does that, I wrote the thing and got mixed up.
Anyway, I am Rachel's slave for life ... or at least for as long as she keeps polishing up my books.

I'm almost done. I AM done but want one more read through before I send it back, JoAnn.