Monday, February 17, 2014

Breaking Down the Major Depts in a Publishing House

Getting published with a publishing house is many an author's goal, however, once their book is accepted by a house the author realizes a whole new set of fears.

What does this mean? What happens to your book once it goes behind those closed doors of the publishing house? And you thought you'd already been through the scary part, didn't you?

It doesn't have to be scary. With a little understanding, you should be able to look at it for what it is...a business deal. You're the author; you do have a say in things to some degree, as long as it's conveyed in an intelligent and educated manner.

This is the first of an eight part series that I'm doing on breaking down the most important departments of a publishing house. Of course, they have the common departments as most businesses do such as IT, human resources, and website maintenance, but I won't get into those areas. I'm going to stick to:

1. Editorial Department
2. Contracts and Legal Department
3. Managing Editorial & Production
4. Creative Department
5. Sales
6. Marketing, Promotion, and Advertising
7. Publicity
8. Finance & Accounting


The book publisher’s editors perform all the duties necessary to acquire and edit books and see them through to publication, including dealing with literary agents, authors and interfacing with the breadth of the book publishers other staff.

Editorial Director/Editor-In-Chief - oversees the editors.

Editors - If you're under the impression that the editor's main job is to correct grammar, then you're not alone. But the editor's job is so much more than that.

The editor not only acquires the book from the agent, they must then read it and determine if it is good enough to present to the acquisitions committee. If the editor gets the 'go' from the committee, the editor then negotiates the author's contract with the agent.

Further, the editor continues to work with the author to assure that the manuscript meets expectations. They will stay in communications with the author to be sure that timelines are met; and if there is to be a delay, the editor will notify the editorial department as well as the Editorial Director.

The editor performs the necessary editing processes for grammar and such. The book is then distributed to the marketing, publicity and sales departments and the editor becomes the advocate for the book in such a way that they need to relate to these departments the value and potential within the marketplace.

Editorial Assistant – Each editor relies heavily on their editorial assistant to provide services such as administrative duties, correspondence and communications, scheduling, etc.

Something to take away from here: Remember that this is a very subjective business. The editor must decide whether or not your book is ‘good enough’ to move on through the publishing house. This, of course, is the editor’s opinion. Always believe in yourself and your work.

My next post will cover the basics of the Contracts and Legal Departments.

Until then, I wish you all the best success in your writing.

Dee Ann

Helpful Links:

Self Editing for Fiction Writers
Editors on Editing
What Editors Want: A Must Read for Writers Submitting to Magazines
What US Editors Want 2014