Monday, February 25, 2008

Behind the Scenes of Book Publishing

For writers trying to get published, the world of book publishers often seems shrouded in a particular kind of trade-jargon voodoo, impenetrable to all but those initiated into the innermost circle. This short article by Brian Scott sweeps away a little of the mystery and provides a welcome glimpse into book publishing's inner workings.

An Author's Glimpse Into The Operation Of A Book Publishing Company

by: Brian Scott

The publishing company is the backbone of the writing world. The publishing company provides a great service to society by publishing and displaying the work of authors. The global existence of publishers is obvious, but the inner workings of a publishing company is unknown by many authors. Many book publishers consider the publishing industry as an apprenticeship industry -- most book publishing professionals gain knowledge and skills in this field with hands-on job experience. Generally, what an apprentice learns in one department is useful throughout the publishing house, which gives professionals the opportunity to move between departments. A typical publishing company has many levels to it, each with different functions.


The Administrative Department is the first level of any book publishing company. It has many responsibilities to help the publishing company function properly. The Administrative Department manages daily operations for publishing executives and management. This responsibility involves interaction with all employees from all departments, as well as interaction with authors and agents. The administrative employees manage the calendar, maintain organized files, screen/prioritize mail, draft correspondence, make travel arrangements and prepare itineraries, process expense reports, take minutes at meetings, and prepare reports. A position as an administrative employee allows a person to have a high-level of understanding of a publishing company, while being visible to executives.


All large and small publishing companies have an Advertising Department. Most publishing companies have in-house advertising agencies that purchase media space and create and design advertisements. In a publishing company, the Advertising Department works closely with the marketing directors, editors, and publishers of titles to create an advertising plan that promotes sales of an author's book. An advertising plan requires research and negotiation to provide the best venues and the most cost-effective methods of advertisement. These employees also work closely with graphic designers, commercial sales representatives, printing presses, and internal staff to facilitate the run of advertisements.


The Editorial Department of a publishing company is one of the most important departments. The Editorial Department acquires, negotiates, develops, and edits book projects for publication. The daily activities of editorial employees include preparing acquisitions for transmittal to the production department; developing and maintaining relationships with authors, booksellers, and agents; performing general administrative duties; participating in editorial, design and marketing meetings; and reading and evaluating submissions by writing reader's reports. The editorial department must work closely with all departments.


Another division of a publishing company is the Marketing Department. The Marketing Department creates, prepares, and establishes marketing strategies and policies for each book title by coordinating the efforts of publicity, promotion, advertising, and sales departments. The Marketing Department prepares all sales presentation materials, audio recordings, fact sheet collation, and promotions; creates and produces additional account-specific presentation materials; researches and establishes relations with new markets; and plans and maintains sales and marketing schedules.


The Publisher's Office is also an important department for many publishing companies. The publishers oversee the life cycle of a book title from acquisition to production, and onto the sales force. Publishers make executive decisions for all book titles within assigned imprints while staying within any cost restraints. This department is also responsible for sponsoring book projects, strategies, and initiatives for the publishing company.


The Subsidiary Rights and Permissions Department is one of the most important divisions of a book publishing company. This department finds additional sources of profit for a given title, including serials, book clubs, and paperback, audio and e-book rights.

The daily activities for the subsidiary department include writing submission letters; sending manuscripts, proposals, and books to foreign publishers and agents; coordinating co-productions with other publishers; working with book clubs and sales for special editions; and maintaining relationships with other publishing companies.


The road to getting a book published is a long one, but well worth the effort. Trust yourself, and trust the publisher to create a beautiful masterpiece. Don’t be discouraged if several publishers are not interested in your book. You may have to self-publish your first book, and then again, a large or small publishing company may accept your book based on marketability. Good luck and enjoy the process.

About The Author

Brian Scott

Learn how to become a published book author! Download Brian's free e-book, Book Writing for Fun and Profit, at Visit Brian's blog, at

Back to Basics: Writing Creative Stories

Here's a good look at the bare bones of story writing:

Writing Stories
by: Simone Mary

There's nothing like writing a story. It is a truly satisfying creative process. In order to write a story that people will enjoy. You need to understand the key elements that all good writers use in stories. In this article we will explore these elements.

1. Brainstorming

Ask yourself these questions:

What are you are going to write about? Who will be your audience? How much do you know about what you want to write about? What do I need to find out?

2. Write from a Specific Point of View

First person: "I"

Second person: "You" (rarely used)

Third person: "She/He" (Used the majority of time but in a "limited" way) Limited simply means that the story is told through the eyes of one particular character.

3. Starting Your Story

Your story should begin in such a way that it grabs the readers attention and never lets them go, some ways to begin are: Sound Effects, for example: Splash! Pop! Another way to begin is with dialogue, that is, two or more characters having a conversation. Using action is also another way to start. Whatever you choose, you must do it in a way that draws the reader in from the very beginning, if you fail to do this then no matter how good your story gets down the road it will be pointless as you have already lost your audience.

4. Setting

Place your characters in a setting. This is where you are to use descriptive words that let your readers see, hear and even smell the setting. The setting establishes the time and place in which the story takes place. Give your readers a snapshot view of the environment so that they can see it in their mind's eye and feel as if they are really there.

5. Characters

Characters are part of the life blood of fiction. Here are some of the types of characters you may want to create.

Main Character (Protagonist): All the action revolves around this person.

Villain (Antagonist): This person or persons oppose the main character at every turn. Villains can also become allies of the main character down the road. People change in real life as well as in stories.

Friends (Sidekicks): This person or persons helps the main character.

6. Conflict

Good conflict allows your readers to become even more involved in the plot. Conflict can arise within the characters, with other people or even with nature. The needs of characters are what drives them into action. Conflict is created when obstacles are put in the way of the characters. Here are some types of conflict that can arise in a story:

The main character vs. others

The main character vs. his /her own inner self

The main character vs. situations he/she faces in life

The main character vs. society

7. Dialogue

Finally lets take a look at the purpose and use of dialogue. Dialogue is used in conversation between your characters. The characters may also have dialogue with themselves. Good dialogue tells the reader something about the characters state of mind or personality. Dialogue should be surrounded by action and move the story along. So make every conversation count!

About The Author

Simone Mary is a teacher, writer and artist. She is the author of the eBook WRITING A STORY? WHAT EVERY WRITER SHOULD KNOW, for more writing strategies and for a free copy of the eBook GET ON THE HONOR ROLL-TEST AND EXAM TAKING TIPS THAT WORK visit