Editorial: The Next Frontier

April 1998
by Curt Matthews, IPG/Chicago Review Press

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Most PMA publishers now thoroughly understand the need for professional-looking covers on their books, and know that the only way to produce such covers is to hire a professional cover designer. Most also now understand the importance of high-quality interior design, which can only be achieved by hiring a professional or by very carefully imitating a successful and appropriate design from a similar sort of book. The next frontier for many independent presses, however, is first-rate editorial work. I am not referring here to substantive editing-the work the editor does with the author to pull the manuscript into good basic shape in terms of content and structure-but rather the copy-editing and proofreading necessary to bring the tricky bits of spelling, grammar, and punctuation into conformity with standard usage. I asked the person responsible for supervising the editorial and production work at my company for the last 20 years to comment on the basic issues:

You can’t do it all. Developing the content, rewriting paragraphs or sentences, copyediting or at least correcting spelling and punctuation, creating a design and setting the type, outputting pages, proofreading and making final changes, preparing a disk for the printer-no single person should try to do all of this. My impression is that the majority of small publishers lavish time and effort on the book’s design, often producing the pages themselves. These publishers should hire a freelance copyeditor to go ov…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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