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Studies & Degrees in Book Publising




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Book Publishing remains to be one of the old businesses that are still holding its foot firmly on the ground. Despite the arrival of the Internet age where e-books are getting popular every minute, book publishing in the traditional sense still subsist. Book Publishing in the traditional sense would mean a writer with a manuscript going to a publishing house who will review the writer’s work and then if the publisher likes what’s written, a contract will be drafted and then printing of the books will then proceed. However, because of the undeniable power of the Internet, slowly, these traditional businesses are also embracing this technology and are slowly releasing e-book versions of their best-selling books.

Naturally, publishing houses are on the lookout for talented writers who they think might give them the next best-seller. Since manuscripts are presented to them for review prior to signing them on as official writers, more or less, they can gauge if the book would be a hit on their intended market. Most publishing houses specialize on a particular genre or market like McGraw-Hill publishes only business and education related books and Tor Books for science fiction and fantasy themed books. Naturally, expect these publishing houses to come up with gimmicks in order to sniff out potential future best-seller authors. Some publishing houses would hold out book writing contests open to all amateur writers or simply send out agents to contact professors from leading universities to give them the names of promising students in the field of literary writing. Due to the number of works being simultaneously reviewed by publishing houses, sometimes a gem would slip by their hands as with the case of J.K. Rowling. The first 12 publishing houses she and her agent approached all gave her a thumbs down as they quite assessed that her first book was intended for a very young audience who are not much readers of novels yet as grand as “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” However, the 13th publisher that they approached that had quite a different way of knowing what’s in the mind of the intended market who so happens to be his 8-year-old daughter. The daughter liked very much what she read and was asking for the next chapter right away. The publisher agreed to print her work into books but warned her to keep her day job as sales from the book might not turn out well. Fast forward to the future, she is now one of the richest women in the world. Probably, from the unprecedented sales the book recorded, the publishing house that carried her might not need to look for another writer as books are still continually being sold from all over the world.

The Book Publishing industry is not as mysterious as it seems now. A small publisher can be make it big as long as they can spot and sign exceptional writers. Future publishers can learn the intricacies of book publishing as there are now full courses available.

Job positions for Book Publising:

Book Editor

Take a tour around a local bookstore and for sure a wide array of books, shelf after shelf would be in display. Books in hardbound, in paperback, autobiographies, novels, trade books, inspirational books and the list can go on. For the shoppers, perhaps, a book on a shelf is just a book they might buy or think about buying or not at all. For the author of the book, especially those whose work got published for the first time, seeing their work in the shelf of a bookstore can be highly emotional as some books take years to finish. When a book is on the shelf, although it is the author’s name that will be remembered by the public, real credit should go to the Book Editor who made publication of the book happened. Thanks to the diligence of book editors, literary geniuses such as J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Anne Rice and George RR Martin were introduced to the world. If not for Book Editors, these literary masters’ works would still be manuscripts today.

Categorically, there are two types of Book Editors: Acquisitions Editors and Copy Editors. Acquisitions Editors are every writer’s best friends. If the writer wants a publishing house to print and publish his works, the writer must contact a publishing house’s Acquisitions Editor to have his works reviewed. More or less, the process of screening begins at the acquisition editor. Manuscripts land on their desks to be reviewed and depending on the Acquisitions Editor’s assessment, if he thinks the book is marketable or a potential best-seller then he tells his boss that he liked the book. Usually, writers just send sample chapters to these editors and if the review was a favorable one, the Acquisitions Editor would be working closely together with the writer until the book eventually is finished. Usually, they would give comments if a character would need more build up or sometimes general criticisms like “add more sex and that’d be a New York Times favorite.” They are the ones who would call a writer in the wee hours of the night just to remind them that deadline is fast approaching. In short, they are the ones who pressure a writer to be on time and the manuscript to be at par with best-selling works.

The Copy Editors, on the other hand, are the one who does the itty-gritty of editing the manuscript as a whole. They are the ones who make sure that correct grammar has been observed throughout the manuscript and correcting them when necessary. Along with grammar, correct spelling and punctuation are also checked out before proceeding with printing the manuscript into a book. Another important thing a Copy Editor does is to check for consistency of what’s written inside the pages. For example, the manuscript in question is a novel and the main character was established to have brown eyes and then maybe out of building up multiple characters, in the latter pages, the color of the eye suddenly is described to have a bluish tinge, so things like this are what Copy Editors would be looking closely at.

To land a book editing job, degree holders of Book Publishing undergraduate programs should bode well on one’s resume.

Fiction Writer

Master storytellers, literary artists, weaver of words, pen warriors and magicians of words are just some of the titles bestowed to these people who make a living out of making make-believe stories. In normal circumstances, these people are normally called Fiction Writers. Examples of famous fiction writers are J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, J.R.R. Tolkien, George RR Martin, Robert Jordan, Dan Brown and Anne Rice.

Fiction Writers are writers who write about stories borne out of their imagination. A fiction story could be about anything as long as the plot could be justified. Fiction Writers however differ in their approach in coming up with a best-seller. Some writers incorporate factual places, people and events but the main characters are entirely made up. Anne Rice employed this approach in her famous vampire series. Her main characters are vampires but when she describes a place like Paris or New York, she is actually describes them as it is or as it was depending on the time setting. Some writers like the late great J.R.R. Tolkien wrote his masterpiece, “The Lord of the Rings”, series out entirely from his mind. From the setting (Middle Earth) to the languages spoken (Elfin, Orcish and Dwarfish) and cultures were all entirely a product of Monsieur Tolkien’s mind. Imagine the scope of his work as he had to invent his own set of languages.

As before, a Fiction Writer, as with any other genre writer, would need a typewriter as an essential tool of the trade like a hammer is to a carpenter but modern writers cannot do without a laptop computer. Most of the time writers do their writing in coffee shops along with their laptops.

What sets a good writer apart from so-so writers is, first and foremost, a good command of English. Writing a novel or short story would definitely require a wide range of vocabulary. Writers are often said to have their own distinctive style. Book publishers are more often convinced of publishing a literary work of art because of how it was written and not on the merits of its story like what Anne Rice did with her “Interview With the Vampire” where she presented the story from a writer’s point of view as the vampire recounts his tale or like what J.K. Rowling did with her Harry Potter series where each installation of a Harry Potter story represents a school year at Hogwarts. Best-selling authors also share a common characteristic that perhaps gave their book the distinction of making the New York Times Best-seller list and that is exceptional development of characters. Distinctive style and exquisite build up of characters is perhaps the winning formula on the road to fame and fortune in the field of fiction writing.

A remarkable thing about fiction writing is there are actually no set of rules that would be observed as any genre can be easily injected into it. Fiction Writers can write about any fictional story on romance, fantasy, mystery thrillers, suspense thrillers, spy thrillers or whatever suits their fancy. Fiction Writers or Budding Writers should also take advantage of the courses being offered now with regards to book publishing as some writers are also their own publishers.

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