Fuse #8

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Deep Dark Secretive World of Book Publishing

A recent Blue Rose Girls posting by author/illustrator Meghan McCarthy got me to wondering about the heaps of helpful souls that put work into a children's book. Meghan's piece concentrates more on what must happen behind "closed doors" when a book tanks. I, on the other hand, wonder more about the rough number of people who contribute to a single novel or picture book. What if, like movie credits, every book had a long listing of every intern, editor, or what-have-you that put their two cents into a given published work? How would the total number of participants differ between a biggie like Scholastic and a little guys like Eerdman's Publishing? The mind is ah-boggling at the thought.

Labels: ,


At 3:17 AM , Anonymous stacy said...

I work for a small imprint, and I imagine even with us the number of people who work on a book is fairly large (though it could be much larger with a larger company; I don't know). Perhaps in a small publisher (smaller than us; we're an imprint of a larger company) the number might be smaller, but only because so many people would wear different hats.

At 11:31 AM , Blogger Matthew said...

To give you an idea, our Christmas list has more than 20 people on it. And that's just the people at RH with whom we've had actual one-on-one contact ... I know there are many, many more, from salespeople (dozens there) to interns to prepress folks, the actual printers, and the hundreds at the shipping warehouse. Whew!

At 1:14 PM , Anonymous Sergio said...

At least it would be nice to see the names of the editor and the art director (together with the designer, which is the only one that sometimes appears.)
I would love to be able to follow an editor's work through the years...

At 8:59 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Sergio, my man! Lovely to hear from you. Are you aware that author Emily Jenkins does nothing but sing your praises when she speaks publicly? And half a year ago I was at some soiree when a librarian demanded to know why I wasn't better acquainted with your oeuvre. Thanks for the comment.

At 4:58 AM , Blogger gloria estefan said...

Well, I think the list would have to stop somewhere! Suppose it included booksellers too? How about librarians? Hmmm. Perhaps when I become rich and famous I can dedicate the last half of my book (or add on another 40 pages) to allow for credits, just for fun. It could be rather funny! (It would only be funny once though... then it would get annoying).

The amount of people *I* come in contact with while working on a book can be counted using one hand. The rest of those folks... well... I don't get to meet them.


At 12:48 PM , Anonymous Mark McVeigh said...

I work at Penguin and off the top of my head here are the people who work on a picture book:
acquiring editor, editorial assistant, copy editor, managing editor, production person (helps us figure out pricing for trim size, jacket specs, etc), art director, designer, marketing person (devises/ implements marketing plan), and publicity person (tracks reviews, press mentions). I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting.

At 3:22 PM , Anonymous stacy said...

Mark's list is about the same as mine, though the editorial list might vary a little because our staff structure might be a little different than his. But I think it'd be about the same across companies.

At 11:48 PM , Anonymous jen said...

an editor's job is to be invisible. credits are nice, when an author chooses to make them in acknowledgments or dedications or whatnot, but if you want accolades and credits, your best bet is to write a book, not help create one. cause if you read a book and say, "wow, that was well edited," I didn't do my job.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home