A Schema of the Publishing Cycle:

I Academic Journals

[traditional model]

Before publication

• Author writes a paper based on her/his research (often assisted by graduate students);

• [possibly] circulates it for comment by colleagues/peers; then

• revises text to take account of their comments; prepares abstracts etc; and using a selected journal’s house-style,

• submits article to Editor of preferred journal

• Editor reads article quickly; either rejects the piece at once, or selects reader(s); and sends it on for detailed expert examination (usually by three readers)

• Readers report on quality/suitability; makes suggestions for changes thought desirable

• Editor passes article + referee’s report to his Editorial Advisory Board; decision is taken to publish or not [Sometimes the readers are members of this Board]

• Editor returns typescript to Author with readers’/ Editorial Advisory Board’s recommendations for any changes required to be made

• Author rewrites the article, resubmits it to the Editor

• After the rewrite, article may still not be judged ready; goes out for a second revision, or

article is accepted

• Editor schedules publication of the article in a particular issue, and he (or an editorial assistant) marks-up the copy for printers. [This mark-up may be simply making the piece conform to the Journal’s style, or also include wording changes, and or/elisionss of repetitions, irrelevant material etc.]

• The printers set up the copy for that issue, and take proofs

• Editor and Author check proofs for the article and mark any changes needed, author sending his/hers to the editor

• Editor returns marked proofs to printers for correction; issue of journal is printed and cased, and delivered to editorial office

article is published, perhaps as much as two years or even more after first submission

After publication

• Publisher distributes the issue to subscribers

• Editor usually provides author with pre-prints/offprints (sometimes charging a fee for them), and author now circulates copies of the issue with the published article to her/his own ‘Invisible College’

• Abstracting /Indexing Services abstract/index the article for their own journals/databases, and Citation Indexing Services analyse article’s references for their indexes

• Scholars read the article; other academics, having become aware of the article through current contents lists and these abstracting/ indexing /citation indexing services, or by browsing in a library’s collections, or possibly by personal recommendation, read the article

• Other researchers, excited by the new ideas/information/ methodologies employed, and new insights shown, start taking account of the article’s findings and conclusions in their own research/article writing, both through citing it & by incorporation of its results in their work, usually citing their source

the article becomes part of recorded knowledge

• Secondary writers incorporate this knowledge into their own publications, reference books, newspaper articles etc.;

the content of the article becomes part of received knowledge

Time passes

• With the passage of time, political/economic/scientific/literary/sociological changes , the ideas presented in the article no longer seem as convincing

• New Research is published, which challenges/overturns/makes unfashionable the article’s assumptions/findings/methodology. Its validity is questioned

• There is a paradigm shift. Researchers cease to cite article save for historical purposes.

It becomes obsolete, and ceases to be part of received knowledge, though records of its existence remain

 

 

 

II THE ACADEMIC TEXT

• Academic/researcher establishes reputation in field (through articles, conference papers, citation record, etc.)

• Academic has idea for book, based on this research

• prepares synopsis of proposed contents , and sends this (or an Intro, sample chapters etc. to a

pre-selected academic publisher for consideration

• Editor at publisher reviews synopsis; sends to referees for detailed consideration

or requests some specimen chapters from author (academic) to go to referees

• Referees consider synopsis and suitability of the book for publication in their lists

• and its potential profitability

• and the author’s suitability to write it

• Editor seeks additional advice on market potential from sales staff, and on costings from design and production staff

• Selection Board reviews referees’ & other reports and decides contract terms to be offered

• Author is offered contract to write book according to (revised) synopsis, and in style approved by Board

work starts seriously

Or, when the idea originates with the publisher...

• Editorial Staff or Sales Staff or Academic advisers identify need for a new book (or for a replacement title, or a new edition)

on a particular subject, or

• Editor of Series identifies suitable new topics which should be covered by the series

• Editorial staff/Advisers seek suitable academics to write the desired text

• Editor approaches planned Author; negotiates contract

• Author prepares synopsis/specimen chapters according to ideas outlined by Editor/Advisers/Sales Staff

Editor/Sales staff/Advisers consider synopsis and suitability for their lists of the book proposed

Editor reviews their reports; consults Designer; gets costings;

Author gets go-ahead to complete book according to (revised) synopsis, and in style approved

Work continues seriously

After signing of the contract (as roughly parallel activities)

Author writes text; starts Sales staff (at publisher)

to choose illustrations start early publicity

Author sends typescript/ Editor/Referee vet the

floppy diskette text

Author seeks permissions Designer starts work; marks copy for printer

Sales staff/designer set publication date/price; Printer sets copy;

prepare reviewing list etc submits proofs

Author/Editor check Printer proofs the

proofs; mark corrections illustrations

Designer designs jacket Editor gets CIP data

Author (or an indexer employed by author) Printer make corrections as instructed

prepares index prints final text + illus,

Sales staff finalize publicity Printer prints jacket

Binder binds local edition;

Review copies are ships sheets overseas

sent (with embargo) to for other editions

reviewing journals

Legal Deposit copies are Pre-publication orders are

sent to depository distributed to Booksellers

Book is eventually published

After publication . . .

• Author/Publisher distribute complimentary copies

• Journal editors decide whether to review or not; either allocate the review copies to suitable academic reviewers (and reviewers start work ) or editors include a brief note of the book in ‘other books received’ in next issue

• Book is listed in book trade bibliographies, appears at trade shows and in booksellers’ exhibitions at professional conferences and use it in other post-publication publicity

• Reviews start to appear in newspaper press, & booktrade journals

• Reviewers for academic journals submit their typescripts of reviews to editors; editors put reviews into queue for publication in their academic journals

• Publishers start to receive requests for review copies from other (including overseas) journals

• Reviews start to appear in academic journals

by this time it may be a year or more since publication (and twenty years or more since the author started on the subject

• Critical reception of book decides author’s standing, and reputation of book, and potential sales and new editions

• Other Academics start reacting to/using the Author’s ideas, and quoting his work in conference papers, periodical articles, and books

THE BOOK MAY CONTINUE TO HAVE A HALF-LIFE BEING USED

IN THIS WAY LONG AFTER THE EDITION IS OUT OF PRINT

AND THE AUTHOR DEAD

BUT IF IT IS EXTENSIVELY USED, THE PUBLISHER WILL SEEK TO ISSUE

NEW EDITIONS, SOMETIMES REVISED/REWRITTEN BY OTHER ACADEMICS

AND MAYBE IN OTHER COUNTRIES

Distribution of Books

Publishing involves much more than simple production if it is to be successful, and ensure that the books (or other publications) are distributed so that they are really ‘made public.’ This demands that there be effective publicity and distribution chains which ensure that before publication

• appropriate subsidiary rights are sold as widely as possible

• advance publicity about author and the book is prepared as needed (e.g. through

prospectuses, news releases, etc.)

• the book’s details are entered into prepublication bibliographies and other publicity

• it receives a prepublication ISBN and cataloging in publication

• advance copies (or the right publicity materials) are distributed to library suppliers,

jobbers and to stockholding booksellers

• advance copies are distributed to appropriate reviewing journals (and other

opinion-guiders) so that reviews CAN appear on publication date

• the launch of the book attracts the right publicity (and bad publicity, unfavourable

reviews, are better than none at all and sometimes improve sales more than

good reviews do)

• copies of the books and appropriate supporting display materials are in bookshops

on publication date

• legal deposit copies are sent to copyright agencies, and all other necessary steps

to establish ownership of rights are taken at the right time

On publication

• publication parties/author signings/lectures — sometimes

• quotations from the right reviews (and other positive response, or stimulating

controversial comment)) is used in post-publication advertising

• approval copies are distributed to academics if there is potential for the book to be used

as a course text

• special advertising is directed to appropriate special-interest groups

• the publishers’ travellers (salespeople who travel from bookshop to bookshop) ensure that the supply of copies of the books to booksellers, libraries etc continues to be smooth and without hitch.

This calls for good permanent staff who are in touch with the needs of particular groups of end-purchasers as well as being in touch with (and trusted by) library suppliers, jobbers and stockholding booksellers, and systems which will get the right number of copies, accurately invoiced and properly packed, to purchasers within a short time.

Financing the Publication of Books

• Financing of a new book is problematic [financing journals is quite different and is not considered here]. There are very few books which are individually essential, and one of the tasks is that the producers of books all have to persuade the next people in the chain of production and distribution that their particular book is necessary and worth publishing.

• The publisher has to guess how many copies are likely to sell at the chosen price, and many factors can interfere with this.

If he miscalculates a bit, some copies may go to remainder dealers to be sold at a lower price.

If he has miscalculated very badly, thousands of unsaleable books have to be sent to be pulped and he loses a lot of money on them.

• Many books are unprofitable;and even books by highly regarded authors, which receive good reviews, may take a long time before their production costs are covered. These books will also frequently have been produced only in small editions, so that the unit costs per copy for their production were high.

In the past typically a publisher would set the publication price at five times his actual expenses for paper, printing and binding [i.e if his unit costs were going to be about $8, he would set the retail price at $40]. (Though perhaps more typically, knowing that the market norm for books of this kind was say $34.95, he would work backwards from this, and decide that his production costs must be limited to a maximim of $6.99 or 20% of this sum, per copy.)

The remaining costs which build up the final price to be paid in the bookshops will consist typically of :

• discount to library suppliers, jobbers and booksellers — typically 25 % or 331/3% for

single-copy orders, perhaps as much as 60 % to overseas distributors and jobbers

who take a large number of copies

• royalties or fees to authors and illustrators (only bestselling authors can negotiate terms

very much; 10 % of net proceeds on the first thousand sold, and 15% thereafter

is fairly typical — but many authors will receive no payment whatsoever).

• fees to be paid for permissions (for use of copyright texts, use of illustrations etc)

• overheads for warehousing, delivery, invoicing and financial control of sales

• overheads for office space, salaries, etc. of editorial and sales staff

• overheads for advertising and publicity (including copies given away)

• allowance for losses incurred on other books which have been failures

• profit.