15th EditionAppendix A: Design and Production—Basic Procedures and Key Terms

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This appendix provides writers and editors with an overview of how publications are designed and produced. It is not necessary to understand the design and production processes in all their detail—indeed, technology advances so rapidly that any full discussion would soon become obsolete. But it is essential for everyone who works with designers and production personnel to have some knowledge of what happens between the submission of an edited manuscript and the delivery of a finished work. (For more detailed coverage of these processes, consult the sources listed in the bibliography, section 2.6. For definitions of specialized terms, including many not mentioned here, see the list of key terms at the end of this appendix [pp. 823–40]. For an illustration of how the stages described fit into the overall publishing sequence for books and journals, see appendix B.)

New technology has changed the way authors, editors, and production personnel work together. The use of word-processing and page-layout programs to prepare, edit, and design manuscripts for publication is now common. Authors are almost always required to submit their work in electronic format, eliminating the need for rekeying. At the same time, typesetting and printing stages are being streamlined through the use of digital technology. In such a climate, a successful publishing program must continually adapt its production methods.

Despite these advances, the fundamentals of designing and producing a publication remain remarkably constant. Authors are asked to follow specific guidelines when preparing manuscripts for publication (see chapter 2). Designers create a visual format for a work that complements—even enhances—the content of that work. And production controllers coordinate the efforts of in-house staff and vendors to ensure timely publication and adherence to acceptable manufacturing and electronic publication standards.

A general note on production schedules: since even a short delay at any point in the sequence described below can jeopardize a publication date, everyone involved with a project should be aware of the key deadlines, which are often summarized in a production schedule. The details of the schedule vary by publisher and type of publication and depend on such factors as the length and complexity of the text; the number of authors or editors who will review proof; and, for a printed work, the decision whether to print it domestically or overseas. A typical timetable for a book printed domestically (see fig. A.1) would allow six to nine months from the submission of the edited manuscript to the delivery of bound copies. The timetable for a journal ranges from a few days (for an article published individually on the World Wide Web) to three or four months (for a printed journal issue). Figure A.2 represents a typical publication schedule for a quarterly journal published in both print and electronic forms.