As we have previously seen, designing the cover is an important aspect of the book. The cover is what grabs the reader’s eye and without it, potentially no books would be read. However, once you have grabbed their attention, into the story they go. No matter how good the story is, if the typesetting is clunky, it makes the story feel clunky. If pictures are used but do not reflect the story, instead of enhancing the story it can bring the reader out and disrupt the story perhaps leading to a bad review. For this reason, typesetting is as important as the cover design.

Typesetting is done in InDesign. You have to set your document up to  match the brief given. Once you have your document, you need to import your text. Before you even change font etc, you need to make sure you have no mistakes in the text. This could include double/triple spaces, hyphens or en/em dashes used incorrectly or general mistakes. Using InDesign these can be found and changed quickly through the “find” option.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 23.16.01Once done, we can then set up baseline grids which are invisible lines that align our text. We can see on the picture to the left, the blue lines — similar to that of old school textbooks — are the baseline grids and our Row, row, row your boat stay to that line.

After this, you need to style your text. This is done via the Paragraph Styles and Character Styles. Paragraph Styles enable you to change the entire paragraph and character styles enable you to change odd words/characters in that paragraph. Similar to Word in that you can choose size, font-type, weight and colour it also enables you to add drop characters to every new paragraph, change leading, kerning and other things as standard.

Within InDesign you can also add things to ‘Master Pages’. This means, whatever you put here can apply to the rest of the pages. You can now add running heads and page numbers to this master page and it will add it to all of the recto or verso pages you want. Important for if you want to add chapter titles to each page of that chapter.



Typography is the appearance of printed matter. Type can influence how someone feels and thinks about what they are reading. However, thef84d20b5-fd8f-41e3-9786-d3c2cc659aac colour, size and ‘jazziness’ of the type can influence it too. The type ‘Trajan’ is used for both Game of Thrones and Sex and the City. Both totally different products and genres but due to how the type is coloured, it changes how the reader sees the type. We can see that the points, kerning and tracking are all different between the two, giving it a different feel.

We then discussed the different terminologies use within typography ( can be found in the Glossary). Within the book, typography plays a very important part, not just for the reader but for the publisher too. Typography can reduce or increase the number of pages needed and the cost of printing. For the reader, if type has been arranged and made to flow, it makes for a much easier reading experience and means the reader might be more inclined  to enjoy the book and recommend to a friend — massive incentive for a publisher to get a good typesetter.

This is where copy editing and production cross. The typesetter have to correct the suggestions made by the copy-editor. It might also be where they differ in opinion. Bad copy-editors and proof marks make for an unhappy typesetter. To learn a little about copy-editing, please have a look at the copy-editing tags!

Becky talked us through the differences in quotation marks too. Many people just press the standard keys on the keyboard for both apostrophe’s and quotation marks; ‘ “. Whilst for the rest of the world this is acceptable, for a typesetter, having to use the correct marks in important. The standard marks on the key board are inch and feet marks. The true quotation marks are to be found by using either insert symbol or using these short cuts:

Apostrophe = alt + ] = ‘

     = alt + shift + ] = ’

Quotation Marks = alt + [ = “

                 = alt + shift  + [ = ”


As well as the usual fonts that every Mac and PC have, there are font websites where you can find a different font and download it to use in your text. Some are paid for, some are free and the best free font website is fontsquirrel. Here we can find new text that has been designed by people for public use.

We finished by receiving different items and trying to create our own fonts. Mine was a coat hanger — have a go!


Copy Right

Still within the realm of a desk editor’s role we have copyright. Although there is usually a rights team within the publishing house, the desk editor still needs to know a little about copyright to help the author with their work. The basic rule is that if someone makes something it belongs to them. The author has the right to be identified as the writer and their name holds copyright for 70 years after their death. This means to use someone’s work you probably need to pay someone a lot of money. As the material belongs to the author it means you cannot change the content when using it in future work.

Within copyright there is a fair dealing clause. This tells you roughly how much you can quote before permission is needed. This means that for academic work, quotes can be used to back up points. A rough guide is that 400 words from one full book is around the limit for free quotes before permission is needed. Obviously, this can change dependant on how long the work is. 2 lines from a 10 line poem constitutes a large proportion of that piece of work meaning permission would be needed. If the quote is used at the beginning of the book and has no bearing on the topic of that book then permission is needed regardless of how much is quoted.

Pictures work in much the same way. Again copyright belongs to the owner until 70 years after their death. If there are people photographed in the pictures used then permission from these people is also needed before it can used in the book.  With pictures (and sometimes written) copyright can be assigned to a publisher but often only for a specified amount of time or for a specified type of book. If something is found on the internet, it generally cannot be used as you never know who the true owner is. If you are trying to get permission you have to tell the author/publishing house where you are publishing (ie country) and what you are publishing (ie what type of book – academic/fiction). Unless the author has given copyright, the publisher never automatically owns copyright.

Within copyright, liable is included. Anything said disparagingly should be used with caution by author and publisher as you could be liable meaning the person who the remarks are about can sue for defamation.

That is the end of the editing section of this module. After Christmas we shall be looking at the production side of publishing with the cover designer for JK Rowling! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!


Desk Editor

A desk editor is a copy editor who is employed by a publishing house. Although they are copy editors by nature, the main role is to read manuscripts and decide which freelance editor would be the best person to edit the text. They have to proof read the text, leaving the standard marks so that the freelancer knows what the publishing house wants in terms of English vs American spellings, heading formats etc. As a desk editor, you would change certain parts of the manuscript before you gave it to the freelance editor. Mainly the complicated stuff so you know its done to your standard and specification and it would be cheaper, more complicated changes means you have to pay the freelancer more.

Once the manuscript comes back from the freelancer, you have to check it against your original notes to make sure that the freelancer has done as you asked and fully edited the piece. As soon as you are happy with everything and the layout of the manuscript is ok, you then send the text to the typesetter. Here you need to tell them font, spacing, book size,how many blank pages etc. Sending them a previous book that you want this one to look like often helps as you usually use the same typesetter’s so they would know what design that book was. Most importantly, you need to inform the typesetter of the date you want the proofs back. The typesetter also needs to know how you want the proofs sent back. Whether that be via pdf or hardcopy, how many you want sending out, if you want them sent to you or the author and how much the entire text will cost when bound. Once all this has been decided, you then need to check the proofs. Have the typesetter set it to you specifications? Is it the right font, is it set right? The author also needs to check this proof to make sure that they are happy for their work to be published as it is.

The next thing is the design of the front cover. In trade, this is usually handled by the marketing team as the cover is usually the best way to sell a book. However, in academic, the cover is usually just something that covers the book, the title is the important thing. Either way, if the desk editor has to do the cover, then it is sent to the in-house design team or another freelancer. Whichever way, marketing team or desk editor, the cover does have to pass the desk editor at some point for approval.

If there are no delays whatsoever, then the book could be published in 3 weeks. This never happens though as everyone usually has other projects that they also need to do, so often there is  a queue per stage. The copy editor will have 5 manuscripts to look at meaning it might be 5 weeks before you receive it back from them, it might take the typesetter’s 3 weeks to get your proofs to you and then you have to wait for the author to approve the proofs. All these things take time so a few months is normal even a year.

And that is a Desk Editor’s job in a nutshell! See you next week for the penultimate copy editing post!


Unfortunately, our survey on SurveyMonkey did not generate that many responses so I cannot really carry on with last weeks task. We are leaving it for another week to see if we can get any more participants to really get a usable number of answers. So hopefully next week I can actually give you some results!

IMAG0208_1Carrying on with this weeks lecture. We looked at contracts today. It made me realise that dropping Law after A level was a wise decision. Having to write these contracts seems a thankless task! However, the knowledge of what each clause means that you can properly negotiate with an author over what they want their contract to say. This is highly important as many authors will simply cross out sections they don’t like or argue over the need for certain aspects. Within the publishing world, contracts are issued for every aspect. There are Author Contracts, Editor Contract, Series editor contract, Amendment to contract, Co-publishing contract. This means that for each potential author pairing or writing team, there is a contract. This is highly important as certain breaches in contract can have severe consequences. Other, less serious breaches could just initiate a ‘get out of jail clause’ and some breaks could be easily solved and remedied. Life can get in the way of many clauses, so due date can be brushed over if the author is late, a change in length can be discussed or a change in pictures. Learning the contract your author has to sign means you can maybe see potential issues for the author ahead of time, can easily work out a happy medium or be ready on which clauses you cannot change.

Usually, most companies all have a word limit clause, a time scale clause, who owns international rights, who owns digital rights (massive clause and usually none nonnegotiable), who owns media rights (TV and Film), which country the legal aspect is controlled by and the publishers right to first refusal of your next book. Other clauses can be added as the publisher sees fit but the clauses over the rights are the main points for publishers and often not negotiable.

Assignments are taking up most of the tasks this week so the continuation of the SurveyMonkey is this week. Hopefully more data will be available for next time.

Market Research

I mentioned that last weeks task was to try to sell a book. My team had a book based on bioethics and I decided to try to sell the book by relating it to relevant topics at the moment such as the Ebola virus and euthanasia, both which need to be looked at ethically as well as scientifically. Happily, I was informed that this was the correct way to try to sell a book, especially one that didn’t have a sexy title to sell itself.

Following on from this exercise, we delved into the world of Market Research in publishing. This class was designed to see how we gather market information. We were given the task of researching enhanced digital books. These are ebooks that have an enhanced aspect to it, whether it be interactive, audio or visual. There is a large market in America for these kind of textbook, especially medical and science. Inkling is one company that designs and creates these enhanced ebooks for the American market. Acting like we were working for MUP we researched who was doing the enhanced e-book in the UK, who we would want to market the book to and what area of education would work best.  Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Hodder, Pearson, Open University Press are among some of the few publishers who do enhanced ebooks.

surveyAs a group we decided to focus on University students. We discovered that enhanced e-books can only be used on iBook and KindleFire. This means that we had to research how many students have access to these platforms and how many would be willing to use a textbook on an e-reader. Once this is established, we would then be able to sell the books to Universities and Lecturers showing the demand (hopefully). We used SurveyMonkey to devise our survey.

We are aiming for around 100 responses to be able to gain a good enough sample number to analyse the results.  Tune in next week to see what out results are or (if you are a student) click on the picture on the right to do the survey yourself.




Maintaining a list

Welcome back for another week of Editorial and Production! Last week we learnt how to build a list so it follows on that this week we learnt how to maintain current lists. Besides the obvious talking to authors about the books that they are currently writing, maintaining a list can encompass termination of  a book print run or ordering more prints of books. These other lists are called backlists and Editors need to keep up to date with them to make sure they aren’t losing money, either by having no copies in stock that could sell or having too many books in storage. For MUP, storage is outside the house so costs money per book housed. We did a little exercise in class to see which books we would do a re run of, which we would just leave as they are IMAG0198_1and which we would terminate. This picture shows the system we were using. Tony Mason (our lecturer) said that this was a very simple system and usually we would have the month by month sales listed but for the purpose of the exercise this was easiest. None of us had the same answers as each other and we seemed to be fairly over-cautious as compared to Tony.

Our next assignment is on Sales and Marketing. We have been given a book cover, synopsis and selling points about a book per group and we now have to think of the best way to get these books onto the shelves of book stores and Universities. This is an interesting assignment as we get to see another side of publishing. Once the books have been printed the hard work has only just begun. Getting it in a position to sell is critical to the book’s success and to you as an Commissions Editor. I’ll let you know how the sales pitch go and what the best way to sell a book is after next week!