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The Publishing Project, Group 5: Reaching the Finish Line

uczccgl11 May 2016

For seven months, the publishing project has been such a big part of my academic and personal life that it feels a little strange to know we are so close to the end of it. It is something every member of my group has worked on tirelessly, both collectively and individually, and we couldn’t be more proud of what the final product is shaping out to look like. We sent off the final manuscript to print at the end of April, and hopefully will be receiving the books from Clays in the next couple of weeks.

So, what is left to do now that the manuscript is finished and has been sent off to print?

A few things, actually.

The major one for Works In Progress is shipping. Every author and illustrator who contributed to the work is owed a copy of the book as payment, and a total of thirty-four of the people who donated to our Indiegogo campaign gave enough to cover the cost of a physical copy of the book as well as shipping. That means we need to ship a total of sixty-two books around the world, which is going to cost us approximately £400 via the Royal Mail. Luckily we have the funds for it.

Additionally, there are a few things left to do that is unique to the Works In Progress project: creating an Epub version of the book, planning a launch party, finalise the musical component of the project, launch the official website, and make sure that those who purchased additional perks from our Indiegogo, such as prints of the illustrations, receive these along with the book.

Finally, there are a couple of things every group has to do before the publishing project is well and truly over.

 

  • Each group has to create a portfolio where they include:
    • Brief outline of the group’s project — what the group worked on, how and why the group conceived of it and how the group divided up and handled responsibilities
    • Working documents (budgets, schedules and other management files)
    • Minutes from meetings
    • Correspondence with printers
    • Correspondence with contributors
    • Design and Development Documents
    • Curated selection of the group’s marketing and promotional efforts
    • Any other specific documents that are relevant to the group’s project (materials for judges, website links, link to audio files, photography, etc.)
  • Every student has to write a 2500-word reflection piece (individual of the group) where they include:
    • The student’s contribution to the group
    • What skills the student has developed and learned
    • What the student feels went well and what they might do differently in the future

 

When these tasks have been completed, so has the project. At this point, it’s all about time management and making sure you get these things done while completing your internship, working on your dissertation, and preparing for the end-of-the-year-exam.

It’s a lot, but worth it in the end, especially as I know that I’m nearly at the finish line.

The Publishing Project, Group 5: Going to Print

uczccgl13 April 2016

Hopefully during this time of year, around March – April, your group is at the stage in your project where you are ready to go to print. Some groups may not need a printer – either choosing to go with an Ebook edition or using an online-based platform to host their project. Choosing a printer can be a challenge. Are you printing in colour? Black and white? Do you choose a domestic printer or European, or Asian? What are the costs and delivery time? What kind of quality and format are you expecting to print in? These are questions you have to consider when choosing a printer. Depending on your funding, your group might have to go with a UCL-approved printer. Such is the case if you are relying on the money assigned to each group by UCL — a total of £222.

Depending on the quote the printers offer, the format of your book, and the size of your print run, this might prove to be slightly problematic. Extra funding, via crowdsourcing or sponsorship, will give you more freedom and allow you to choose a printer that fits your needs. That is money you have 100% control over.

This is the option my group went with. Through crowdfunding, Works In Progress raised more than £3000, which has allowed us to choose Clays, an established printer that offers quality printing. We even have the funds to print in hardback!

Before going to print, you obviously need to have your manuscript ready. The printer you choose will provide the specs and information on how to prepare the file you are sending to print. If you have the money for it and your manuscript includes images like Works In Progress, you may choose to do a print test before going through with the actual printing. A print test via Clays is a 16-page text section printed digitally on the same type of paper that will be used in the actual book. This allows your group to check what the images will look like on the page and give you time to fix any potential issues that may arise such as colour, size, or quality. For Works In Progress, as a transmedia project, the book also has QR-codes that link to our webpage and that we would like to make sure work properly before sending the book to print. The print test lets us do that.

Finally, when you have chosen a printer and have prepared your manuscript in the proper format (Works In Progress is printing in hardcover B-format), make sure that all your dates are in order. From the time you deliver your final manuscript to print, it will take approximately three weeks, though this may differ from printer to printer. Your print schedule will affect when you are able to provide potential retailers with their stock or deliver the book to your end customer. If your group is having a book launch or presenting the book at the London Book Fair, the print schedule will affect these dates as well.

Going to print can be a stressful time, and there is a lot to consider, but if you find a printer that matches your needs your group will be just fine!

 

List of UCL-approved printers:

Belmont Press

Duncan Print

Formara Printers

Optichrome

SLS Print

Stephen Austin

Sterling

UCL Services

 

Find out more about Works In Progress via our Twitter or Facebook pages!

The Publishing Project, Group 5: Illustrators and Illustrations

uczccgl16 March 2016

In publishing, illustrations or other images are often a complementary part to the manuscript. It can be anything from pictures in a cookbook to illustrations in a children’s book. As part of the publishing project, it is up to each individual group to decide if working with images or illustrations is something worth doing.

There is a lot to consider when working with text and images, not least of all the cost of production. In most cases, the inclusion of an image or illustration will increase the cost of printing, either because it takes up extra space in the book, or because printing in colour is going to be more expensive than printing in black and white. There is also the quality of the paper to consider. Depending on the colour and quality of the image/illustration, you might need a certain type of paper that lends itself particularly well for printing images and/or colour. Furthermore, you have to make sure that the digital files containing the images have been properly rendered. That means it is your responsibility, and not the printer’s, to ensure that things like colour and dot-per-inch (DPI) is correct before going to print.

If you are using photographs, you might also need a photographer and the proper equipment, especially if you want a high-quality level of images. Then there are illustrations. When incorporating illustrations in a book, you are hugely dependent on artists. You can either commission or curate an illustration for your purposes, but you have to rely on the artist to deliver a piece of quality work. For my group’s publishing project, Works in Progress, we are using no less than ten different illustrators, whose illustrations we have curated and matched up with one of the short stories in our collection. We got in touch with the different artists either through submission of work or by approaching them ourselves to ask permission to use their art. Like our authors, every illustrator signed a contract giving us the right to use their work and even make slight alterations (with approval) to the illustrations. This allows us to change images that were originally in colour to black and white for print purposes, or even remove certain elements of the illustrations.

Because Works in Progress is a multi-media project, we are able to showcase the illustrations in their original colour on our website even if they will be featured in black and white in the actual book.

Below is a couple of examples of a title page, one in black and white for the book, and one in colour for the website:

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 13.54.34Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 13.53.50

To check out Works in Progress’ Indiegogo campaign, click on this link, or find out more about us via our Twitter or Facebook!

The Publishing Project, Group 5: Finances

uczccgl17 February 2016

The thing you have to remember about publishing is that it is a business based largely on gambling. Publishers take on projects, pay author advances, and determine prices for retailers based on the profit they think a book will generate. Every project is a risk that is, truthfully, more likely to cost you than not. Everything from production to marketing is going to affect your margins, and the trick is to cost your project realistically. In other words: make a budget and stick to it! Even then, you are not guaranteed a profit. The harsh truth is that 80% of a publisher’s yearly revenue will come from only 20% of all projects: the bestsellers. 60% of projects will not make a profit in the first year of publication, and 20% will never make a profit at all.

So what does this mean for students’ publishing projects at UCL?

It means that if their project is going to cost them more than the £220 every group is allotted by the university, they have to find alternate ways to fund the rest of that cost. In terms of salaries for contributors, my group has been lucky. Our project, Works in Progress, is a collection of short stories that features music and illustrations. We have about fifteen authors involved in the project, and will have around the same number of artists, plus a number of musicians. Their payment will be a copy of the physical book when it is finished, and none of them will receive any royalties should there be any profits at the end of the project. This means we save money by not having to account for this expense, but we still need enough funds to cover the production and distribution costs.

There are several ways to fund a project. There is the option of sponsorship if you can find someone interested in the project, or you could put up the funds yourself. Our group’s project, neither having the funds ourselves or the option of relying on sponsorship, is depending on crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding is all about presenting a product or project in such a way that people unrelated to your group would want to be a part of the project and, most importantly, contribute funds. To this end, we created a video to function as a trailer and introduction to our project, and set up an account with Indiegogo that we could market and promote throughout various social media platforms. Kickstarter is another crowdfunding site and perhaps a more well-known alternative to Indiegogo. We chose to go with Indiegogo as they allow for flexible funding, which means that if we don’t meet our intended goal of £3,500 we get to keep the funds we raise at the end of the deadline — an absolute must if we are to publish the book.

At present, we have reached 41% of our goal!

Additionally, while crowdfunding is our main source of funds, we are making an attempt to gain corporate sponsorship by writing up a press release to explain the purpose of Works in Progress and submitting examples of our work. Such examples include quotes from a few of our stories:

getting there (small logo, small text) copy norbert

To check out Works in Progress’ Indiegogo campaign, click on this link, or find out more about us via our Twitter or Facebook!

The Publishing Project, Group 5: Editing and Dealing With the Author

uczccgl21 January 2016

 

The editing process can be a delicate one. As can the relationship between author and editor. Therefore, it requires a great deal of communication, and it is important to strike a balance between honesty and constructive criticism, The story you are editing is your author’s pride and joy. Remember and respect that.

In our publishing group, we are making a collection of short stories, and consequently are dealing with multiple authors for the same project. That means we are juggling several authors with the same concerns and same deadlines, and making sure they all feel taken care of.

Personal experience has shown me that most authors are grateful for the feedback and find it hugely helpful, especially when it comes to the grammar as they themselves are often too close to the project to pick up on every mistake no matter how many times they go through the text. Structural editing is a little bit different. When you start suggesting ways that the text could be changed concerning plot and characters, authors tend to be a lot more conservative and hesitant. Sometimes, they will flat out reject the suggestion.

When it comes to structural editing, checking for consistency and accuracy is high on the list of priority. As editor, you want to make sure that the pace of the story flows naturally and that the narrative is convincing from a reader’s perspective. If you then want to make structural edits that concerns the plot and characters, make sure you have a reason to do so and explain to your author why these edits will make their story a better one. That is what it comes down to: will the changes you make as an editor make the story a better one?

Sometimes, there is a need to make cuts. This can be due to a word count or it can simply be pieces of text that are unnecessary to the story in its entirety. Some authors are (grudgingly) okay with making cuts. They recognise that there are patches of the story that might look clunky and could be smoothed out. Others are very hesitant. They have put so much work and effort into every word in every sentence, the thought of cutting any of it is absolutely appalling. This is where you as editor have to be firm. Explain to the author the necessity of what you are doing, and pick pieces of the text you are sure—or as close to it, anyway—are non-essential. Every story has pieces redundant text, even if the author would beg to differ.

Different editors take different approaches, and I’m not convinced there is a “best way to edit” so to speak. In my opinion, the most effective way is to establish a good rapport with your author, and to communicate your concern and interpretation regarding the text. If your author trusts you, they are more likely to listen to your advice and suggestions, and to let you go about your job and make the necessary cuts and edits.

Our group is still in the midst of the editing, and while it is a process, it’s coming along nicely. There are, admittedly, a few hiccups along the way, but we are working it out as we move along, and the further into the process we get, the more convinced I am that the finished product is going to be nothing short of amazing!

For more information about the Works in Progress project or other inquires, contact us at:

Email: WorksinProgress2015@gmail.com
Twitter: @WorksInProg2016