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Book Publishing Process

The Book Publishing Process

This can be divided into three main parts:



Publishing begins with the generation of a project idea. The project idea is triggered by:

  • New Markets
  • New syllabus
  • Revised syllabus
  • Changing market needs.
  • Proposal from author.

Market information is arrived at by conducting market survey. This would entail looking at the market needs to determine whether there is a market gap (market opportunity). The following equations would help to assess the market gap.

  • Market needs – Available = 0 (No Market gap)
  • Market needs – Available = 1 (Market gap)
  • Market needs – Available = -1 (Saturated Market gap)

Publishing proposal

After the project idea has been generated and market survey conducted, the next step is to assess the economic viability of the project idea. This entails preparation of publication proposal which captures:

  • All origination costs.
  • Number of copies to print.
  • Printing cost.
  • Unit production cost.
  • Selling price.
  • Number of copies projected to be sold per year.
  • Profit margin.
  • The proposal is assessed against company’s financial objectives.
  • The desired gross margins for all the projects.
  • The period needed to achieve the desired rate of return on investment. (R.O.I.)
  • The project proposal is either approved or not approved based on above parameters.

If the project is approved, then the author(s) is/are identified and commissioned.

Manuscript Acquisition Procedures

Identify the right author who:

  • Knows his/her subject well.
  • Effectively communicates with target readers.
  • Meets deadlines.
  • Commission author formally in writing. Commissioning letter should give clear briefs and specifications on:
  • Extent of Manuscript.
  • Artwork/illustrations required: Minimum and maximum per chapter.
  • Target audience/readership level so as to determine:
  • Appropriate methodology.
  • Style.
  • Language.
  • Deadline
  • Presentation.
  • Handwritten manuscripts are accepted in very exceptional cases.
  • Typed manuscripts are preferred. They must be typed with good interline spacing and outer margins to allow space for editing.
  • Soft copies of the manuscripts would be required, preferably in MS Word, to hasten the subsequent typesetting and design process.

Manuscript Evaluation & Assessment

Publishers use in-house editorial staff or a pool of external evaluators to assess submitted manuscripts.

Criteria for in-house evaluation

Editorial policy which for instance determines the categories in which the company publishes in or the priority publishing segments of the moment.
House style.
Textbook evaluation criteria.

If an in-house evaluation report is positive it is always advisable to seek a second external opinion to validate this standpoint. This is because:
Editor’s opinion may not be representative enough.
Second opinion means fewer risks in terms of book being a flop.
Finding external readers/advisors

Publishers would always zero in on experts in subject area.
They would mainly be practising/retired teachers/lecturers.
They should be given evaluation guidelines by the publisher.

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