Monday, November 15, 2010

It Takes a Team to Produce a Nonfiction Book

Very few people can do everything that must be done to take a book from beginning to end. It takes a team of people who will play a role in some aspect of your book. You will not need everyone on this list, of course, but there are a few in the “must have” column. If you are self-publishing, they include an editor, a graphic designer, and a printer. If a traditional publisher or a reputable POD house publishes your book, some of these professionals will be furnished. Here is a list of the most important professional partners.

Administrative assistants or virtual assistants will become your right hand, handling correspondence, permissions, research, bookkeeping, organization, filing, inventory, publicity, and myriad other details.

Attorneys serve several functions, from analyzing contracts to advising you on copyright laws and registering art work.

Graphic designers often can handle both cover design and page layout. Conventional publishers will provide these elements based on input from their marketing departments.

Distributors such as Baker & Taylor, Ingram, Follette, and BWI provide a range of services including electronic ordering systems (EDI), warehousing, fulfillment, shipping, billing, collection, marketing, editorial consultation, and sales.

Editors work at different stages of the project. A developmental editor helps you craft your concept, organize your ideas and material, and keep yourself on track. Copy editors and proofreaders check for grammar, punctuation, and consistency.

Indexers are necessary when your book is technical, scientific, fact-filled, or a textbook. You have two options: your word-processing program or a professional indexer. Hire a professional. A conventional publishing house will provide indexing services when necessary.

Industry experts or readers are professionals who know your subject matter and are willing to give you feedback on how accurately you present this information in your manuscript. Often, they will also provide endorsements that will give your book valuable credibility.

Printers range in quality from quick copy to high-end digital or offset. If your book is published by a conventional or independent publisher, this won’t be your responsibility. If you plan to have more than 1,000 copies printed, choose an offset printer. If you want copies printed as you need them, opt for digital printing.

Publicists save you a lot of legwork by arranging for travel, radio and TV appearances, book signings, interviews, and articles in various publications. Quite often, you will wear the publicist hat. The important point is that you must market your book, usually well before it finds its way into print.

Reviewers are often affiliated with some form of media. They assess the quality of the writing, how well and logically you cover the topic, and how readable your book is. A positive review can be mined in many ways, one of which is to quote the reviewer on the back cover.

Transcribers convert recorded interviews into text. An option that allows you to avoid transcribing is voice-recognition software, which must be trained to recognize your voice. The best for PCs is Dragon Naturally Speaking; for Macs, the latest is Macspeech Dictate.

Wholesalers handle books based on demand. They carry books from most publishers and fill orders as they receive them. Their main service is delivering books quickly; they do not have sales reps. There are several categories of wholesalers, including national, regional, specialized, and library.