The Editorial-Production Process

Once you and your editor have determined that the content of your manuscript is final, that all of the appropriate pedagogy has been added, and that your computer files and hard copy meet the specifications outlined in this guide, your editor will submit the manuscript to production along with appropriate paperwork. Our production department will review all material submitted and determine if the manuscript will be accepted. Manuscripts that are in poor physical condition, late, or missing permissions or other paperwork will be rejected.

After your manuscript has been accepted, several planning stages will take place. Schedules and budgets must be set up and approved. This process may take eight to ten weeks. Once this has been done, you will be contacted by a member of the editorial-production department and be given information about the status of your manuscript. What follows is a general description and introduction to the editorial-production process.


Most of our manuscripts are produced by outside editorial services, often referred to as "packagers." The packager will be in charge of all day-to-day details involving composition, copyediting, and proofreading. Your in-house production contact will give you information about the packager, including address, phone number, and e-mail.


Your in-house production contact will give you an initial schedule; the contact person at the editorial service will provide you with any updates. If you know of any reason why a particular time will be inconvenient for you (you may need to attend a conference, for instance), tell your production contact, who will try to arrange the schedule to get around this difficulty.

The importance of keeping to the schedule cannot be overemphasized. In book manufacturing plants, the time for the various operations has to be scheduled months in advance. Any project that is late will probably be put aside, and the book's publication date may be held up for a much longer period than the initial delay.


Your manuscript will be evaluated for design requirements, particularly in light of market and competition. We will evaluate the manuscript and your list to determine if your manuscript is suitable for one of our standard designs. For multi-colored projects, representatives of the series editorial, editorial-production, marketing, and advertising departments meet to discuss the design of the manuscript.



The copyeditor will be checking for such points as spelling, correctness of credit lines, and consistency of style. The copyeditor will also mark the manuscript with detailed instructions to the typesetter. You will need to review this copyedited manuscript with the following in mind:

  • Reread the entire manuscript, paying attention to all of the copyeditor's changes. This is your last chance to make any final corrections, as changes to page proofs are both costly and time-consuming.

  • If you spot a change you disagree with you may alter it, but you should indicate that you have done so. An occasional one-word query to you may be marked directly on the manuscript. You need to answer these queries.

  • Major changes in phrasing, questions of some fact or figure, or suggested additions or deletions, should be queried by the copyeditor on flags attached to the relevant page. No question should be left unanswered or answered with an ambiguous reply.

  • Answer copyeditor's queries either directly on the manuscript (if a word or two) or on the query flags. Any additions or changes longer than a few words should be typed (double-spaced) on a separate page, which should be inserted after the page with the change.

  • Do not erase or obliterate any copyediting marks or discard any copyedited pages. Keep query flags attached.

  • If you write on the manuscript, use a bright-colored ink in a color different than those already used on the manuscript. Do not use lead pencil, black ink, or a felt-tipped pen.

  • Print neatly, but do not handwrite in all capital letters. Note that errors resulting from the keyboarder misinterpreting your handwriting will be considered AAs (author's alterations).

  • If you photocopy any new pages, be sure to insert the original page into the manuscript and keep the copy for yourself.

  • Double-check all references and complete any missing information.

  • Add any permissions credit lines that have come in since you first submitted the manuscript. Make sure to follow the format specified on the permission form. If in doubt as to how to add credit lines, check with your packager or in-house production contact.

  • Make a copy of the manuscript for reference when checking page proofs. Send the manuscript back by the method requested in the transmittal letter.


When the page proofs arrive, check them carefully. Do not be disturbed if the type and illustrations on the proofs look faint or blurred; proofs are generally photocopies. You need to read each word and punctuation mark. All tables, equations, formulas, statistics, and the like should be checked against your copy of the edited manuscript.

Generally, two sets of page proofs will be sent to you. One set must be returned to us with your corrections; the other is for your files. For reference and for safety's sake, you should mark your changes on both sets.


  • Be sure to answer all queries on the proof. Never make any change or answer any query on the dead manuscript; it may be overlooked.
  • Note changes in a brightly colored ink or pencil. Do not use lead pencil, black ink, or felt-tip pen.
  • When marking proofs, remember that for every correction there must be a corresponding symbol in the margin. When making corrections the typesetter does not look at each line, but only at the marginal markings. Anything not shown in the margin will probably be overlooked.
  • Do not write between the lines. Put all marks in the margin on the same line as the error.
  • Call the packager if you notice problems such as missing copy (more than a line or two) or mis-numbered pages. (If you are indexing, you must wait for a complete and correctly numbered set of pages.)
  • Fix errors only. Keep changes to an absolute minimum. At this point, you should not be making style changes or renaming chapters.
  • If you must add anything longer than a line or two (such as new reference entries), please type it separately, double-spaced.
  • Time may not allow for you to see figures or photos in place.
  • Verify the correct position of tables and illustrations (but remember that the compositor cannot always put them exactly where you have indicated they go and still produce a balanced page).
  • Read captions and credit lines carefully; check text references to tables and illustrations.
  • Check the running head at the top of each page and the page number.
  • You will see proofs of the front matter (title page through preface) later. In reading front matter proofs, be particularly careful of the spelling of those people's names to whom acknowledgment is made in the preface, and of the agreement of all headings and page numbers in the table of contents with those in the text.
  • Return proofs by the method requested in the transmittal letter. You should also return the edited manuscript, if it was sent to you, since the packager may need to refer to it before sending the corrected proofs to the typesetter.


Charges for editors' and printers' errors (typographical mistakes and other deviations from the manuscript) are paid for by Allyn & Bacon or assumed by the typesetter. But alterations made by the author in proof that constitute changes from the manuscript are chargeable as "author's alterations." Every publisher's contract contains an "author's alterations" or "AA" clause, put there to protect publishers against the rare authors who try to rewrite their books in proof. This clause invariably gives the author an allowance to cover a reasonable number of changes, but provides that corrections that cost more than a stated percentage of the original cost of composition are to be charged against the author's royalties.

Correction costs can mount alarmingly; the typesetter charges for corrections at a much higher rate than for original composition. Changing 10 percent of the text in proof would cost far more than 10 percent of the original composition charge. The cost in time can be as high as the cost in money. If the typesetter has to make many corrections, the schedule may change and the publication date may be delayed.

In every book there are errors that escape everyone's notice in manuscript only to be glaringly obvious in proof. There are also times when information necessitating changes comes to hand after the manuscript is in type. The solution then is to make the change as economically as possible by restricting changes to one or two lines of type.


The index may be the most important selling tool for your book. Our sales representatives, who are not content experts, often rely on your index to show prospective adopters how you cover specific concepts, research, and ideas.

You should decide as early as possible whether you prefer to do your own index or have us arrange for a professional indexer to handle the work. If the index is prepared by a professional, the fee will be charged against royalties. Your editor can give you information about estimated costs.

References to help you:

  • Procedures for Indexing
  • The Chicago Manual of Style, Fourteenth Edition (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press)
  • Words into Type, Marjorie E. Skillin and Robert M. Gay (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall)
  • "Indexing Your Book: A Practical Guide for Authors," a pamphlet by Sina Spiker. To obtain a copy, write to the University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin 53703.
  • The best guides are often leading texts in the field. A close look at the three or four books you yourself most frequently consult can give you a fair idea of what should be included in an index on the subject.


After you have returned the last set of page proofs, there will be a long, long gap. There will be nothing for you to do except check proofs of the front matter, unless your editor has asked you to help out with the marketing plan.

While you are waiting, the production person and typesetter are busy. The typesetter must make the final corrections on the pages. These proofs have to be rechecked by the production person. Illustrations must be inserted at this stage if they are not yet in position. The approved pages will be sent to the printer, who then prints, collates, folds, and trims them, in preparation for binding. Finally, the cover (which has been printed separately) is added, and the book is complete.

Your editor or editorial assistant will order your "authors' copies" which are shipped directly from our warehouse.



As soon as your book is published, you should begin to keep records on any errors you discover in your book. Don't wait to accumulate the errors. As soon you notice a correction is needed, send it along to your series editor. Provide corrections neatly marked on a tearsheet or a clean Xerox of the book page; use the margin to write the correction. Please tape the tearsheet completely down both sides on an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet. Plan your corrections in such a way that the fewest possible characters or lines will be altered.

Reprints are made from the page negatives that were used for the first printing, which are difficult to alter. Adding material, even one sentence, is almost impossible. Therefore, we try to make only the most essential corrections. Essential corrections are defined as errors in fact or errors in technical information. Essential errors do not include updating data or rephrasing text.

Nevertheless, we still want you to send in a notation of every correction that should, in ideal circumstances, be made. At that time, indicate those you feel are absolutely essential to the accuracy of the book. We can then use our discretion as to which changes are technically feasible.

Both the publisher and author, however, must in general be resigned to the fact that changes in a reprint are strictly limited; any major revision or updating must wait for a new edition when the book (or at least a section of it) can be completely reset.

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