Unpacking the Editorial and Production Process

The Editorial and Production Process, Step by Step

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In this section:

    Congratulations! You signed the contract. What happens next? The editorial production process — when your manuscript gets copyedited, proofed and proofread, and its book cover designed — usually takes about four months. Upon completion, we set your Publication Date for 10 full months later. The entire journey takes roughly 14 months from the contract being signed to your book being published.

    There is a gap between production and publication because it takes 10 months (sometimes longer) for information about your book to circulate through the trade worldwide, and this is essential to maximize your prospects of long-term success. We are represented by companies generally reckoned to be amongst the best independent sales teams around the world, and they cannot start selling your book until they have the finished information. Budgets for buying new titles in the chain retailers are set many months in advance — they will not look at titles coming out before then. Some key catalogues, such as the NBN sales catalogue in North America and the bumper Bookseller Spring and Autumn editions in the UK, cover six months of titles. They need the information on ISBN, page extent, price, sales copy, and cover three months before then. So 10 months gives us just enough time.

    Workflow Sections

    Your journey to publication entails 9 stages, what we call the Workflow sections:

    1. Manuscript Upload and Approval
    2. Copyediting
    3. Final Copyedit
    4. Proofs
    5. Cover
    6. Ebook
    7. Printing
    8. Ebook Distributed
    9. Book in warehouse

    After you sign a contract, the Manuscript Upload and Approval Workflow section will open up. After that stage of the process is completed, the next one, Copyediting, will open up, and so on. The final workflow section is Book in Warehouse, which will be completed shortly before your publication date.

    After a stage is completed, it cannot be changed. A Workflow section is completed once the Approve/Confirm button is pressed, usually by a member of the CI team, sometimes by you, the author. You can monitor these stages on your Production page.

    Each time a new Workflow section opens, an Expected Date (a tentative deadline for the stage’s completion) will appear. We aim to complete each stage by the Expected Date — though note that this is not a hard-and-fast deadline and can be adjusted as needed.

    The Expected Date is guidepost, not a deadline set in stone. If your current Workflow section is red (overdue), it’s probably because the Managing Editor hasn’t approved it yet. Don’t worry! If something's been in red for more than seven days (and it's not in your control), then raise a query on the Author Forum.

    Each section is a different colour, depending on where it is in the process:

    • Green — approved and finished
    • Yellow — at current stage
    • Red — overdue (not complete, Expected Date lapsed)
    • White — yet to begin

    Each Workflow section has a Notes for this workflow stage box where you can leave notes for your Publishing Team or, in some cases, change the Expected Date. If you do, make sure that you click Save Changes.

    Manuscript Upload and Approval

    Once you upload your final manuscript, production officially starts. Take your time. Before you upload your manuscript, make sure that you have completed all the tasks that we have set for you here. We prefer that you give us a clean manuscript than a rushed book. You may change the Expected Date to give yourself more time if you wish.

    • Triggered after you sign the contract and the Managing Director puts the book In Production.
    • Approved/Confirmed after the Editorial Manager reviews the manuscript.
    • Expected Date is set to one week from In Production, but if you're still working on the manuscript, you can change the Expected Date to suit your timeline.


    Your MS is copyedited for grammar, usage, spelling, syntax, and punctuation and is put into a consistent style. When that is completed, it will be uploaded to the Copyediting workflow stage for your download and review.

    • Copyediting is compulsory: It is difficult for an author to be aware of all possible errata.
    • Copyediting level: Our copyeditors do not research and fact-check foreign, specialist, or ancient words, accents, or spellings that are not in common use. If you have to use these, please get them correct at the beginning and refer to them in the Author Stylesheet box before you upload your manuscript.

    Please note: We will follow your instructions where appropriate, but sometimes design requests aren't feasible or may not translate to print as well as you might think. Our designers are experts and will have the final say.

    • Triggered once the Editorial Manager has approved the Manuscript Upload and Approval stage.
    • Expected Date set to 30–35 days from the approval of the previous section.
    • Approved/Confirmed by the assigned Copyeditor after they upload the copyedited manuscript.

    Final Copyedit

    This is when you must go through your copyedited manuscript and accept or reject, one by one, the copyeditor's tracked changes.

    Unless you request an advance manuscript proof for your review, which will be ready after proofreading, this is your last chance to change the manuscript! If you wish to make further changes to your manuscript after this stage, there will be a minimum £100/$150 charge (see Corrections below for more details).

    After this is done, the Editorial Manager gives the manuscript one last review, including the deletion of markups, tracked changes, or any remaining comments.

    • Triggered after the Copyeditor has uploaded the revised manuscript, sending you a notification asking you to review the manuscript.
    • Expected Date set for seven days later. Change the date here if you need or want more time to review the manuscript.
    • Approved/Confirmed 1 by you when you upload the reviewed, final-copyedited manuscript.
    • Approved/Confirmed 2 by the Editorial Manager.

    Proofs and Cover

    Your book and cover are designed. Once this is completed, your Publication Date will be set to 10 full months later.

    These two sections happen concurrently. The proofs are sent to in-house proofreaders who check for formatting errors, typos, etc. but who carry out no textual rewriting or enhancement. Please be aware that there is no author involvement at the proof stage. If you upload amended proofs, the typesetters will ignore them, because they are commissioned solely to work on proofs sent in by our Managing Editor.

    • Your Publisher will create a cover brief for your Cover Designer, involving input from your Publicist, yourself, and anyone they consider relevant. As part of the brief, they may ask you to source existing book covers or a stock image from shutterstock.com. They will use the following Cover design brief template.
    • Your Publisher can contact you at any time, starting from the beginning of production, but if you haven't heard from them yet, you should now.
    • Once the brief is created, your Cover Designer designs the cover, usually offering a few options. Your Publisher makes the final decision on which cover to go with.
    • Your Cover Designer will upload one finished cover design to the Cover workflow section.

    The final decision is with us, but in most cases, the author's choice is upheld and our authors tend to be delighted with their covers.

    We do not allow authors to design the covers themselves, and we seldom allow them to use their own designer. In our experience, more often than not, we end up with an amateurish cover, and the extra work involved isn’t worth the cost. We do not get into correspondence on the cover. It is too subjective an area, and corrections can be endless.
    • Triggered after the Editorial Manager has Approved the Final Copyedit.
    • Expected Date for MS Proof is set at 60 days later, 75 days for the Cover.
    • We aim to produce proofs within two weeks of receiving your approved manuscript, four (sometimes six) weeks for proofreading, and two weeks for corrections to be made.
    • The Draft Cover is created during this time and then finalized after the Proofs have been Approved/Confirmed by the Editorial Manager.
    • Proofs are Approved/Confirmed by the Editorial Manager after corrections have been made.
    • Cover is Approved/Confirmed by the Editorial Manager when satisfied with the full final cover.
    • Authors cannot access this section.

    When the Proofs and Cover stages are completed:

    Your publication date is set for 10 full months later.

    We will now distribute information about your book (with the AI/tipsheet) to the publishing trade, with the following timeline from when your book leaves Editorial & Production:

    • 4–6 weeks Your book appears on the JHP website.
    • 8–12 weeks Your printed book is available to preorder on Amazon US, Amazon UK, Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones and others.
    • One month before publication Your ebook is available to pre-order on Amazon US, Amazon UK, and all other ebook retailers.

    If any of these do not happen, please contact Steve Wagstaff via the Author Forum.

    Ebook and Printing

    Free author copies

    Your six free author copies are supplied around six weeks before publication. (Please note that if you live outside the UK or US, we now charge the delivery costs for these). Please note, too, that you can order additional copies at a discount: See FAQs.

    Your ebook is created two months before publication in epub format. You may download your own copy for personal or promotional purposes. We do not include indexes in ebooks as a matter of policy.

    • Go to your book’s Production page;
    • open the ebook Workflow section;
    • on the FILE LIST, click on epub to download your ebook.

    Your first print run is done six weeks before publication. We use SDR Printing (short-run printing in the dozens or hundreds) to print the vast majority of our books. We usually keep initial print runs (before publication) small, somewhere around 130–200 copies across both the USA and the UK, but some titles can have significantly higher print runs. Reasons for this might include:

    • your marketing has been successful;
    • there is some noteworthy PR that could increase sales; or
    • your previous books have sold very well.

    If you forecast higher demand for your title, e.g. for launches, PR programs, etc., please let us know on the Author Forum.

    Visit your book’s Production page and scroll down to the Printings section.

    You can see:

    • the date the order was sent,
    • which printer it went to, and
    • the total quantity printed (for all territories).

    The date that the print order was sent is not the same as the date that the text and cover files went to the printer.

    • Ebook and Printing are triggered when the Editorial Manager approves the Cover stage.
    • Expected Date for both ebook and Printing is set for 240 days later.
    • Ebook is Approved/Confirmed by the ebook designer when the ebook is be ready for distribution.
    • Printing is Approved/Confirmed when the Print Manager sends an order to the printer.
    • This is scheduled for 6–8 weeks before publication to allow books to reach the warehouse and be distributed to retailers.

    Ebook Distributed

    Your ebook is distributed to worldwide ebook sellers.

    We bring out titles in print and digital in the same month of publication, and they both have the same official publication date. However, in practice, the exact date of release won't always be the same. The ebook goes for conversion a month or so before the publication date and then it is distributed. Different distributors take varying times to load the ebooks into their system. It will likely not show on sites such as Amazon for pre-order until a few weeks before publication. So if you see your ebook released on a slightly different day from your official publication date, don’t worry.

    DRM (Digital Rights Management) is code added to an ebook file to limit its use (especially copying, printing, and sharing). It is a way to help fight copyright infringement. We distribute our EPUB through NBN Fusion, and all their agreements with ebook vendors require that they apply DRM to files distributed to them

    • Triggered when the Ebook stage is Approved.
    • Expected Date is 30 days later.
    • Approved/Confirmed when the Sales Coordinator has sent the metadata for the ebooks to NBN, usually about four weeks before the publication date.

    Book in Warehouse

    Your book is printed and ready for bookshops and online customers to order.

    • Triggered when the Printing stage is Approved/Confirmed.
    • Expected Date is set 30 days later, although the books normally reach the warehouse in 2–3 weeks.
    • Approved/Confirmed when the Print Manager sees that the book is in stock with our two primary distributors, Wiley and NBN.

    Corrections and Faults

    All printers sometimes produce faulty books. Nineteen out of twenty times, it only affects a few copies — let us know as soon as you can if you come across one. After a month or two, it’s too late to seek remedy from the printer.

    Your last opportunity to make changes to your text during the production process is before your approval of the Final Copyedit stage. It is vitally important that you review your copyedited MS thoroughly then. Once your book is printed, there are two ways to make corrections:

    • We are happy to make corrections for free when 2000 copies have sold.
    • Until then, you may pay to have corrections made. The cost for text corrections is £10 per page (minimum charge £100/$150); the cost for cover corrections is £100/$150; a full cover change is £250/$375. Note: paid corrections are at the sole discretion of the Editorial Manager.
    • After your text is corrected, your corrected book will be available when your uncorrected printed copies sell out. Alternatively, you may pay an additional charge for the uncorrected printed copies to be pulped (£75 for UK stock and $100 for US stock) and immediately replaced by your new, corrected copies. Your ebook will be updated immediately.

    If you have sold 2000 copies in all formats and want to make corrections (or if you want to pay to have them done):

    • For text: Download the latest PDF version of the final MS proof, titled "Final Text" (in Final Files), from the Production page and mark your corrections by using Adobe's PDF viewing app's editing tools. Please then post this in the Editorial and Production Forum and attach the corrected file.
    • For cover: Please post in Cover queries section of the Editorial and Production Forum.

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