The publishing company is the backbone of the writing world. The publishing company provides a great service to society by publishing and displaying the work of authors. The global existence of publishers is obvious, but the inner workings of a publishing company is unknown by many authors. Many book publishers consider the publishing industry as an apprenticeship industry — most book publishing professionals gain knowledge and skills in this field with hands-on job experience. Generally, what an apprentice learns in one department is useful throughout the publishing house, which gives professionals the opportunity to move between departments. A typical publishing company has many levels to it, each with different functions.
The Administrative Department is the first level of any book publishing company. It has many responsibilities to help the publishing company function properly. The Administrative Department manages daily operations for publishing executives and management. This responsibility involves interaction with all employees from all departments, as well as interaction with authors and agents. The administrative employees manage the calendar, maintain organized files, screen/prioritize mail, draft correspondence, make travel arrangements and prepare itineraries, process expense reports, take minutes at meetings, and prepare reports. A position as an administrative employee allows a person to have a high-level of understanding of a publishing company, while being visible to executives.
All large and small publishing companies have an Advertising Department. Most publishing companies have in-house advertising agencies that purchase media space and create and design advertisements. In a publishing company, the Advertising Department works closely with the marketing directors, editors, and publishers of titles to create an advertising plan that promotes sales of an author’s book. An advertising plan requires research and negotiation to provide the best venues and the most cost-effective methods of advertisement. These employees also work closely with graphic designers, commercial sales representatives, printing presses, and internal staff to facilitate the run of advertisements.
The Editorial Department of a publishing company is one of the most important departments. The Editorial Department acquires, negotiates, develops, and edits book projects for publication. The daily activities of editorial employees include preparing acquisitions for transmittal to the production department; developing and maintaining relationships with authors, booksellers, and agents; performing general administrative duties; participating in editorial, design and marketing meetings; and reading and evaluating submissions by writing reader’s reports. The editorial department must work closely with all departments.
Another division of a publishing company is the Marketing Department. The Marketing Department creates, prepares, and establishes marketing strategies and policies for each book title by coordinating the efforts of publicity, promotion, advertising, and sales departments. The Marketing Department prepares all sales presentation materials, audio recordings, fact sheet collation, and promotions; creates and produces additional account-specific presentation materials; researches and establishes relations with new markets; and plans and maintains sales and marketing schedules.
The Publisher’s Office is also an important department for many publishing companies. The publishers oversee the life cycle of a book title from acquisition to production, and onto the sales force. Publishers make executive decisions for all book titles within assigned imprints while staying within any cost restraints. This department is also responsible for sponsoring book projects, strategies, and initiatives for the publishing company.
The Subsidiary Rights and Permissions Department is one of the most important divisions of a book publishing company. This department finds additional sources of profit for a given title, including serials, book clubs, and paperback, audio and e-book rights.
The daily activities for the subsidiary department include writing submission letters; sending manuscripts, proposals, and books to foreign publishers and agents; coordinating co-productions with other publishers; working with book clubs and sales for special editions; and maintaining relationships with other publishing companies.
The road to getting a book published is a long one, but well worth the effort. Trust yourself, and trust the publisher to create a beautiful masterpiece. Don’t be discouraged if several publishers are not interested in your book. You may have to self-publish your first book, and then again, a large or small publishing company may accept your book based on marketability. Good luck and enjoy the process.