Publishing is the process of production and dissemination of literary works, thus making them available to the public. Traditionally, publishing deals with printed works such as books and periodicals. With the advent of the Internet, publishing has also encomapssed the electronic media, to include electronic versions of books and periodicals, but also websites, blogs, video, etc. Publishing sevices here refer to the activities bridging the gap between an author’s ideas expressed in a manuscript or copy and a professional final product – a book, a paper, a presentation or their electronic equivalents.
Publishing services include: copyediting, typesetting, graphic design, and production – prepress, proofreading, printing (or its electronic equivalents), and finishing. With fewer words we can consider two stages only – prepress and production (printing).
Many small publishers do not possess the technical knowledge and or resources to cover the entire range of publishing services by themselves. Their best option both timewise and budgetwise is to perform the most time consuming activities (often involving repeated proofreading and obtaining the author’s approval) in-house and subcontracting the rest.
Certain specific services related to publishing, which have not been covered in the general services section, and which are usually beyond the capabilities of, e.g. a self-publishing author, are: publication cover design, prepress and printing, ISBN provision, bar-code generation and getting started on the Internet.
There are certain subleties in the production of a publication’s cover, which need professional handling. First of all an expressive cover needs design. The author may have a general idea as to the content and view of the cover, but still there is a long way to go to the final cover ready for printing. Second, a catchy cover is usually associated with colourful appearance. But from a technology viewpoint colour prepress is more intricate than, e.g., the black-and-white prepress of a book’s body. It involves knowledge and skills which are beyond the standard these days WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get ) paradigm, which marked the advent of desktop publishing. Third, cover prepress must result in a PDF file, which conforms with the inner workings of a RIP (Raster Image Processor), which is the hardware or software device translating an onscreen image into a press-conforming printable file.
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique numeric commercial book identifier. Since 1 January 2007, ISBNs contain 13 digits, a format that is compatible with Bookland EAN-13s. Occasionally, a book may appear without a printed ISBN if it is printed privately or the author does not follow the usual ISBN procedure; however, this is usually later rectified.
A similar numeric identifier, the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), identifies periodical publications such as magazines.
To obtain ISBN and ISSN numbers which are assigned nationally an entity must be registered first as a publisher. If the publisher of a printed work is not such by trade it will often be not worthwhile for him or her to go through the tedium of registering a publishing entity for an odd work. This is the case we could help by obtaining an ISBN or ISSN number for him/her.
The barcode of a book becomes a prerequisite for the distribution of a publication in big stores or even in smaller bookshops. The reason is simple: more and more outlets employ computerised cash-register and stock control systems, which rely on barcode scanning. Thus if a book has no printed barcode this complicates the life of the seller, who has to choose either to go out of his way to cater for the non-conforming books or to decline the offer to sell it.
Barcodes on printed works is a function of the ISBN or ISSN of the product. We can include a barcode on your cover, if you already possess an ISBN (or ISSN) number. If you do not, however, you must either make whatever is necessary to obtain one, or commission us to do it for you.
What if your ambitions are to publish on the Internet? After all, many writers now launch their work in writers forums, creative writing groups, and even in personal weblogs. The Internet has made it possible to reach a worldwide audience with just a few IT skills – and it’s all for free!
You have the chance to place your work in writers’ groups, you might create your own web site, or you could start blogging. In addition, you could promote your work via a personal website and an email newsletter. Whichever route you choose, you should be aware of the difference between writing for the screen and the printed page. eBooks and email publishing are a very attractive and cost-effective option. Blogging is cost-free and currently very fashionable. If you need help to get started on your path to the Internet more often than not you will need some professional advice to begin with.