The Publishing Funnel: Decoding the Editorial Decision-Making Process

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August 2011
by Roy M Carlisle

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The Publishing Funnel: Decoding the Editorial Decision-Making Process

by Roy M Carlisle

I had to downshift my old Volvo to make it up the hill into the parking lot at San Francisco City College where the lecture hall was located. My nerves were all a-tingle because I had decided (with trepidation) to follow my intuitive process for lecturing or preaching. I had not prepared an outline or written a script; I would be spontaneous and respond in the moment to the students’ needs.

A couple of weeks earlier, Professor Louis Brindamour of Strawberry Hill Press had invited me to lecture in his class “Working as an Editor in the Book Business” in the Certificate in Publishing program sponsored by U.C.–Berkeley’s School of Extension. He wanted me to talk about how I decided which books to sponsor for publication in my role as a senior editor at HarperCollins.

After his gracious introduction, I went up to the blackboard in front of about 50 students and began to draw the diagram that you see here. This graphic had emerged almost fully formed in my brain as I was waiting to start my presentation. It was one of those rare times when I felt I was channeling ideas that had been percolating for years in my unconscious.

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