“Behind the Scenes” series uncovers elements of book-making and publishing that make up our industry. A book represents a physical object that took the creative labor of a variety of people and processes to bring it into being, or “between covers”, in industry speak.
At UC Press, a team of people work on each book, and during the publishing process, there are several different kinds of editors an author will work with:
- Acquisitions Editor (sponsoring editor): When you submit a book proposal, you’ll reach out to the acquisitions editor who will bring your manuscript to the press. These editors are out in the field meeting with scholars and having generative conversations about ideas and book projects in order to build a “list,” or types and topics of books that together form the specific identity of a press in a given discipline. Acquisitions Editors manage the process of peer review, contracts, and general development of a project from pitch to production. They serve as an advocate across the press for the project and for the author throughout the lifetime of the book.
- Editorial Assistant (EA): Editorial Assistants work closely with Acquisitions Editors to help manage the book list and prepare manuscripts for production. They help with administrative tasks associated with peer review and project management, and work closely with the author to make sure the press has all the necessary manuscript components (interior art, permissions, formatted files, etc.) before handing the project off to the Editorial, Design, and Production (EDP) department.
- Developmental Editor (DE): A Developmental Editor, usually a freelancer outsourced by either the press or the author, deals with big picture aspects of a book project: structure, voice, appropriateness to its own ideas and the audience and marketplace. Not all projects need a Developmental Editor, but they are helpful when an author gets a lot of feedback but isn’t sure how to move forward with their manuscript.
- Managing Editor: A key member of the EDP department, the Managing Editor oversees the transition from acquisitions to production by assessing final materials and assigning the manuscript to a Production Editor. The Managing Editor collaborates with Acquisition Editors and Editorial Assistants to make sure projects are ready for production and serves as the master schedule-keeper, ensuring books publish on time.
- Production Editor (PE): These are members of the EDP department who guide manuscripts through production to bound books.They set a schedule to meet the target publication date, assign the manuscript to a copyeditor, and serve as the point person for the author while their book is in production. The production process is, on average, a 7-10 month-long process that includes the copyediting of the final manuscript files, the creation and correction of the page proofs, the creation of the index, and, ultimately, the printing of the book.
- Copyeditor: A copyeditor reads the book word for word and interacts with every sentence. This is where they’ll suggest edits for punctuation, capitalization, treatment of numbers, abbreviations along with making sentence-level changes to grammar from dangling modifiers to syntax.