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Book publishing offers a variety of careers

Trisha Bhattacharya, Feb 21, 2013: 20:00 IST
Books wouldn’t make it to libraries or our homes, if it weren’t for authors and book publishers. Book publishing is a viable career and business path, and has been successfully carried out by many men and women entrepreneurs and individuals, across the country.

Fiction and non-fiction writers, and poets find their work journeying to bookstores, libraries, people’s bookshelves, and into the hands of readers majorly because of the enterprising minds of book-publishers.

Book publishing, is a booming industry, not only for entrepreneurs, but also for authors, who find true credence only when volumes of their work are in print, and in supply, catering to the demands of the readers. The industry doesn’t stop offering opportunities here. In fact, it allows tributaries from other professions to stream into it. Book publishers hire book editors, copyeditors, illustrators, book designers, technicians, printers and other professionals who take care of all the gradations involved in the process of book publishing. Publishers also speak to literary agents, who lead them to good literary writers whose work they can develop and market.
Planning publication schedules, editing the manuscripts, designing the book, production related jobs, printing of the book, and activities centered on marketing, publicity, and advertising of the book are all tasks delegated to different departments within a publishing house. From these arise numerous flourishing career opportunities. Understanding intricate stages of book publishing will shed more light on the professional skills required to find employment opportunities.

Soliciting the author’s work is a primary stage in the process of book publishing. Sometimes, the publishing house, develop their own books, and the chief editor (or the commissioning editor), who might be the same as the publisher, has a strong role to play in this. They also take decisions regarding the publication schedules of the house and monitor certain activities within the organization. Book editors are the ones who chose manuscripts for publication, and discuss with the author regarding the changes required within it before publishing. Subject experts may also be asked to read this chosen work (author’s name is unrevealed), and give their feedback. Once final commissioning is done, book editors discuss other manuscript flaws with the author. Copyeditors, further on, in response to publication approvals, take decisions on technical facets of book printing (page-layout, size etc.). The written manuscript is then converted into an electronic format and word processing software is used to design pages of the book, to enable working with technical guidelines, laid down by the copyeditors.

Content editing, followed by copyediting (also includes grammar and punctuation checking), production (setting the layout of the book by looking at the styling, font etc.), and essential proofreading (reading the final book for mistakes and errors, in spellings, and others) contribute substantially toward bringing an unprinted book to fruition. Appropriate artworks, manually designed and scanned or directly created on computers, serve as book covers. Upon final designing of the book, and complying with few more vital stages, the manuscript goes into printing. The printed compiled pages are finally bound together, to bring forth finished books. Marketing departments, in the final stage, take charge of brand management and promotions associated with these books, which include product-related services, book release events, media relations, book reviews, and author interviews.

Varied short-programs, and specialized-programs in book-publishing at undergraduate and graduate levels for students are on offer, in several countries. Some of the most well-known ones include the MA in Publishing from Oxford Brookes University (UK), MA in Publishing Studies from City University London (UK), MA in Publishing from Kingston University (UK), MS in Publishing from the University of Houston-Victoria (US), M.S. in Publishing from New York University (US), and MA in Publication and Writing from Emerson College (US). Centre for Studies in Book Publishing (University of Kolkata), and IGNOU also offer similar programs in book publishing in India.

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