Publishing processes

Publishing processes

Creative project processes. That’s what I want to talk about.

Especially when creativity is involved – writing, design, film etc – we need boundaries and structure more than ever. If you think it seems boring or fixed to have a set way to go through work projects – think again.

So for copy, we have stages like:

  • A development edit – to look at overall issues like narrative, structure and voice
  • A copyedit to sort out grammar and flow
  • A proofread to pick up last typos


Amends need to relate to each of these levels of change – so we don’t start re-thinking the structure or voice at the proofing stage.

And they need to be clearly marked, so the editor is only checking the most recent set of changes, rather than re-starting the entire process from the beginning.

With film and design, there’s a similar hierarchy. Basically, start with the big issues, end with the details.

So often, these get compressed into one long jumble of tug-of-war between authors and editors with no one clear exactly what they should be checking for. Costs ramp up and so do blood pressures – and the likelihood of perfection becomes more remote than ever as the risk of errors rises every time someone goes back to the drawing board. (If you want to avoid this, I can help you, by the way.)

It’s not people’s fault. People aren’t taught this stuff – and digital publishing allows more flexibility so that ‘final’ doesn’t really have to mean ‘final’. I’m working on a graphic to clarify these processes. What elements do you come across that often get missed?

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