It Takes a Company

[I asked Sarah, one of our production editors, to blog today.]

How many people does it take to make a manuscript into a great book?

That sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it’s also a great question to ask a group of school kids. I recently talked to small group of K-8 students about my job for their book week celebration. This is one of the questions I always enjoy asking to break the ice. This time the kids did a pretty good job, but there were a few people they didn’t think of. More people work behind the scenes on a book than one would expect. For example, for a title like Appaloosas Are My Favorite!


· the author (Elaine Landau) researches the topic and writes the manuscript

· a text editor (Sara) works with the author to edit, fact check, and double check reading level; creates an index; and reviews layouts and proofs

· a crossreader gives feedback to the author and TE to tighten up the manuscript

· a proofreader (Delores) double checks punctuation, tense, grammar, consistency, spelling, etc., both in manuscript and in layout

· a designer (Laura) creates an initial series design and ensures the design is executed on each subsequent book in the series by reviewing the layout for series specifications and making adjustments for design considerations; she also creates the cover for each book

· a typesetter (Vicki) puts the manuscript into InDesign

· a photo researcher (Giliane) works with photographers and photo sources to get images to illustrate the book, writes credits for the photos to place in the book, and orders and pays for high-res images

· a production editor (this is me!) chooses photos, does a rough layout, writes captions, routes layouts for review, and reviews proofs


· Sara reviews the completed layout to make sure it meets series and imprint standards

· a creative director (Zach) reviews the completed layout to make sure it meets company design standards

· a premedia operator (Ben) does final Photoshop work and prepares the high-res images and text for a printer

· a premedia operator (Brad) prints color proofs for final approval

· a production assistant (Ryan) orders paper and schedules printing

Whew! It does take a lot of people, and that doesn’t even include those who take care of contracts and planning, marketing and publicity, selling, printing, binding…and sometimes there are consultants for extra text accuracy on complex subjects and illustrators to create diagrams and maps.

So the answer is, well…a lot!