Do You Need an Editor?

by Nancy Humphreys on January 27, 2011

Here’s how to find one!

In the old world of publishing, an editor is an author’s major point of contact with the publisher. The editors who decide to turn manuscripts into books and work out the costs are called “acquisitions editors“. The editors who actually work with authors are called “production editors“. These editors make sure books meet the high-standards of content and design of the traditional publishing world.

The production editor is in charge of all kinds of things. They need to get the layout done, hire an indexer or advise the author about getting an indexer, see to the cover design, book production and binding, and make sure the author is paid by their accounting department.

Production editors see that copies of the books are sent to the U.S. Copyright Office and to the Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication unit. The CIP unit creates CIP data for inside the book itself, and a digital book catalog record to be sent out to libraries. Production editors also make sure each book gets a unique identifier called an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and a UPC (a bar code label) for sales at bookstores or use at libraries.

Production editors, or those who work with them, create ads for books included in their publisher’s catalogs and featured on their publisher’s web site along with a promotional “one-sheet” that goes out with review copies of their authors’  books.

In short, the production editor is a project manager who gets a book designed, manufactured, and marketed. Production editors are well-educated, love the details of book-creation, and know a great deal more about putting out books than most of the rest of us!

In the new world of publishing, there has been no one who quite fills the shoes of a production editor. Because of that, Jan B. King, a publisher and book marketer founded her Virtual Author’s Assistant (VAA) program in January 2007.

Quite frankly, there are a lot of people in the new world of publishing, who are hanging out their shingles on the Web claiming to know about book design, editing, book production, and book marketing, who know almost nothing about these things. Fortunately, many of those newcomers are willing to learn and are doing so as fast as they can.

If you are one of these new authors assistants, I highly recommend you take VAA training, If you are managing any significant part of a production editor’s tasks on behalf of self-publishing authors or authors seeking a publisher, this program will help you get up to speed much quicker.

If you are an author, be sure to check out the web site for a Virtual Author’s Assistant.

An experienced Virtual Author’s Assistant will save you all kinds of headache, money, and time in creating your book. If your goal is to get you book accepted by any part of the traditional publishing world, i.e., bookstores, libraries, or a New York City agent/publisher, this kind of assistance is crucial!

If you are already a VAA, Happy Author’s Assistant Day!

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Marketing Your Book to Libraries Marketing Your Books to Libraries: An Insider's Guide for Authors by former librarian Nancy K. Humphreys includes: 
  • How to tell what kind of library to target
  • Types of librarians and books they order
  • Strategies to get past the "gatekeepers" who influence librarians
  • Right ways to approach librarians most likely to order your book

Learn more »


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