As a potential author you submit a proposal to the commissioning / acquisitions editor, giving details of the proposed book. The editor obtains feedback from specialist referees to ensure that the planned book fulfils the needs of the market. You may be asked to adjust the proposal in light of the comments from these referees.
When the editor feels that the resulting proposal is strong enough, he or she will submit it along with supporting information and an estimate of costs and profitability, to an internal publishing meeting for approval to offer a contract.
The editor will then come back to you to discuss any suggestions from the meeting.
Once the proposal has been approved, your editor will send you a contract. As soon as this is signed and returned, you will be supplied with information to help you prepare your manuscript. If it is a contributed book, the contributor contracts will also be sent out.
Your contract will state the date that you and your editor have agreed for delivery of the final complete manuscript. This date allows us the best chance of meeting the ideal publication date. We use this date to decide when and how to promote your book to maximise sales. It is vital that you adhere to your delivery date.
We will keep in regular contact with you for updates on your progress, to remind you of the necessity of delivering your manuscript on the agreed date, of writing to the contracted length, and of following closely the guidelines on preparing the text and illustrations. Nearer to the final delivery date, we will check that work has begun on clearing permissions and researching illustrations.
Once your manuscript arrives with us there are a few in-house systems for it to pass through before production begins; please be assured that we are working on your script during this time. We may send your manuscript out for review to ensure quality and content. If your book is in a series with a series editor, they may also be sent a copy.
We will check the number of words and estimate the number of pages in the final book and submit a financial estimate to the publishing meeting, where the print run and selling prices are agreed.
A cover design for your book may be started so that it is available for advance marketing purposes.
Your manuscript will be assigned to a desk editor/production editor, whose job it is to over-see the editorial processes from unedited manuscript to corrected proofs. This is done either by in-house staff or freelancers.
The first stage is copy editing where your script is edited to our house style and checked for sense and inconsistencies. It is then sent to the typesetter with a design specification for the text layout. Illustrations are checked and prepared and halftones sent for scanning.
Page proofs arrive from the typesetter for checking and to compile an index from. During editing you will have been reminded of your responsibilities with regards to proofreading and indexing. Once you have returned your proofs, all corrections will be collated onto one set, which is returned to the typesetter for correction. The index is also sent for setting. We then ensure that all corrections have been accurately made.
The book is now ready to be sent for printing and binding.
When your book arrives from the printer it is quality checked and then our distributors are instructed to 'release' the book, allowing orders to be fulfilled. Advance copies of the book are despatched to the author, contributors, endorsers and reviewers.
A book may be reprinted if the title is selling successfully. In order to facilitate the reprinting process, it would be a great help to us if, upon publication of your book, you check it thoroughly and send your editor photocopied pages marked with any corrections. The decision to make these corrections will be made based on time and cost. Only minor factual errors can be corrected when a book is reprinted.
In some Divisions systems are in place to ensure the longer life of selected books by making them available through our 'Print on Demand' scheme. Details of these arrangements can be obtained from your editor.
For a book to be called a new edition, a sizable portion of the content must be revised. We monitor sales closely and depending on the success of the title, a decision is made whether and when to publish a new edition. The interval between editions can vary and each book will be considered on an individual basis. When it has been decided that a new edition of a book is viable, your editor will contact you to discuss the project.