Tag Archives: book publishing

guide to publishing

The Book Lover’s Guide to Publishing Part #4: Design & Size

Who’s ready for the fourth and final installment of The Book Lover’s Guide to Publishing?! This week, we’re speaking to Jeanne-Marie Hudson, the Vice President, Associate Publisher, and Director of Marketing for Berkley. Have you ever wondered why books come in different sizes or why the same book can have multiple covers? Read on to find out! What’s a mass market paperback? Mass market paperbacks are a smaller trim size and more inexpensive than trade paperbacks. The original mass markets, or “rack sized” paperbacks were designed to fit in racks at supermarkets, drugstores, and other non-traditional book outlets. There is also a larger trim and more expensive “premium” mass market that is now quite popular, particularly for bestselling authors. How is a mass market paperback different from a trade paperback? Trade paperbacks are essentially the same size as the hardcover, but with a different binding and a lower price. They started as primarily bookstore product, but now are also in mass merch accounts. What about movie tie-ins? Movie tie-ins are paperback editions of books that have become movies (or TV shows, which is of course a TV tie-in). They are published in mass market, trade, and some movies or TV shows warrant both formats. They utilize the movie studio art to create a clear connection for the consumer. Interestingly, we frequently also see dramatically increased sales for the original art paperbacks alongside the sales of the MTI, even if the title of the movie and MTI is different from the original work. A huge thank you to Jeanne-Marie, the rest of our employees who took the time to be interviewed, and to YOU for reading along! We hope you learned something new about the world of publishing. Happy reading, Penguins!
guide to publishing

The Book Lover’s Guide to Publishing Part #3: Printing & Production Process

We’re back for another round of The Book Lover’s Guide to Publishing! Scroll down to learn about typos, binding errors, and book covers. Why do typos happen? Typos happen because no matter how many people are carefully scrutinizing a book as it makes its way to print, people remain, unfortunately, fallible, and one eye or brain blink at the wrong moment and, well, there’s your typo. I’d add that it’s quite possible, though, to produce a book without a single inarguable error in it, and we do that a lot. And that the number of typos called to our attention—which we’re always eager to fix in reprints of print books and, immediately, in ebooks—is delightfully minuscule. (Ben Dreyer, VP, Executive Managing Editor & Copy Chief Random House) Why do binding errors happen? Binding errors are too quite rare, and because of careful oversight during the manufacturing process—and of course we look at finished books here in the office as soon as they’re printed—flawed books rarely make it out of the warehouse and into consumers’ hands. Occasionally a book will escape with dropped or miscollated pages, but even when that occurs the error tends to be isolated to a few copies from the print run. (Ben Dreyer, VP, Executive Managing Editor & Copy Chief Random House) How are book covers designed? Designers are usually given a brief and a manuscript of each book to read over. Once we’ve got an understanding of the book we put together concepts and work with our art directors to hone the design and make sure we’re clearly communicating the message of the book. From there, we show comps to the editor and publisher, and once a cover is chosen it goes to the author for approval. (Colin Webber, PPG Designer) Why is the paperback cover different from the hardcover cover? The paperback is different from the hardcover for a few reasons. Most of a book’s life is spent as a paperback, so something like a noteworthy quote becomes more important in grabbing the attention of passersby. The production and price point factor in as well. Certain designs lend themselves better to a smaller paperback than a jacketed hardcover (and vice versa). Sometimes the paperback version falls under a different imprint with a different publisher than the hardcover. Different publishers might have different visions for the book, and try to reach different audiences. (Colin Webber, PPG Designer) A huge thank you to all of our employees who took the time to be interviewed. We hope their answers have helped you better understand the publishing process! Check back next week for our fourth and final installment of The Book Lover’s Guide to Publishing!
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The Book Lover’s Guide to Publishing Part #2: Publishing Process

Welcome back, readers! Have more questions about publishing that you’ve been dying to ask? See below to find out if your question has been answered!

Why is the book cover different in different countries?

Essentially the reason for different covers is because there are usually multiple international publishers for any major author’s titles, and we (PRH U.S.) do not always have rights in every country to every title, or we license to a company that is not part of PRH. So, for example, John Grisham is published in the UK by Hachette UK, George R.R. Martin is published by HarperCollins UK, etc. They will design cover treatment and print quotes which are relevant to their marketplace. Same for any given non-English speaking market. (Cyrus Kheradi, International Sales)

Why is [book title] not available to purchase in my country? The Penguin Random House international sales team works with distributors, wholesalers, and retail booksellers all over the world to reach readers in over 240 countries and territories. While we have robust international sales and marketing reach, our distribution is formally limited to a list of territories the publisher negotiates with an author’s agent when purchasing book rights. Rights to the UK and British Commonwealth are often sold separately and exclusively to a British publisher. Territories outside the exclusive domains of the US and UK—the “open market”—are generally shared between the two publishers on a non-exclusive basis, but may vary at the country or regional level. Every book is different, and one of the exciting challenges we face in international sales is keeping them all straight and getting copies into readers’ hands everywhere we have the rights. (Kelly Roberts, International Marketing Manager) What are the other jobs associated with publication? (Sales, Marketing, Publicity, Subrights, Special Markets) In addition to editorial, there are a wealth of other departments in a publishing house that help bring the books to life and to the marketplace. Our managing editorial, production, and art teams usher books through the process that creates the physical objects. Our publicity teams bring them to the attention of the media, while our marketing teams bring them to the attention of consumers. Our subrights team coordinate getting our books published internationally, and also get excerpts from our books placed in magazines and newspapers. Our sales and special markets teams bring our books to retailers and the marketplace so that consumers can buy them. And this is only the tip of the iceberg! (Casey Blue James, Manager, Business Development Penguin Publishing Group) A Huge thank you to all of our employees who took the time to be interviewed. We hope their answers have helped you better understand the publishing process! Check back soon for another installment of The Book Lover’s Guide to Publishing.
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The Book Lover’s Guide to Publishing Part #1: Publishing Ephemera

Welcome to Penguin Random House’s “The Book Lover’s Guide to Publishing” blog series! Over the next few weeks, we will be interviewing PRH employees from various departments to get the inside scoop on their jobs and how they help create the books you love. Read below for the answers to your most pressing publishing  questions! How many books does Penguin Random House publish each year? Penguin Random House publishes over 70,000 digital and 15,000 print books each year. Although these official copies line bookshelves across the globe, they aren’t the only versions to exist. Before the final copies are printed, there are ARCs (Advanced Reading Copy or Advanced Readers Copy), galleys, and RBMs (Reformatted Bound Manuscripts). What is an ARC? An ARC is “created using the first pass of the book, which has been copyedited and flowed into a text design by the typesetter. The cover features the jacket art and often has a fully designed spine and verso; it may also include the same lamination and/or effects that are planned for the final cover/jacket. The text and covers are often printed offset, by the same printers who will produce the final books and covers/jackets”  (Melissa Solis, Managing Editorial). What is a galley? Galleys are similar to an ARC, but “a little less fancy—i.e., no special cover effects and a plain spine and verso. It is still created from the first pass, which has been copyedited and designed. Galleys are produced at a digital printer (versus offset) due to lower print quantities” (Melissa Solis, Managing Editorial). What is a RBM? A RBM differs from an ARC and a galley because it’s “an uncopyedited and undesigned manuscript that is bound for reviewers and/or for early reads to get people a sneak peek of the book. Editors will often use bound manuscripts to solicit blurbs for the final book jacket. Bound manuscripts are made early in the process, before a cover is designed and sometimes even before a title has launched to our sales team” (Melissa Solis, Managing Editorial). So how do books actually get from the printer to bookstores? Once a book has made it through the production department and has been copyedited and proofread, it is ready to be printed in its final form. PRH printers “deliver new books to one of our two warehouses about four weeks before a book’s on-sale date. Meanwhile, we receive sales orders from booksellers, distributors, and consumers. Once a sales order is received, a request is sent to our distribution center to ‘pick and pack’ the books. Books are then shipped to the designated bookstore/customer. Alternatively, books can be sent directly to booksellers from our printers or sent to one of our partner warehouses for faster distribution to customers in certain regions” (Chelsea Vaughn, Publishing Operations). What’s the difference between advertising and publicity? As the publication date for a book nears, the marketing and publicity departments work full-force getting the word out and generating attention for the book so that readers will become interested in buying and reading it. The biggest difference between the two is that “advertising is paid for, whereas publicity is not. Our publicists pitch various media outlets with the authors/titles that they think the outlets would find interesting for their own readers or viewers and hope that the outlets will choose to feature the author and/or title. Our marketers, however, pay for advertising placements based on various factors and can guarantee a placement as long as we can pay for the cost” (Christine Hung, Advertising). What determines where an author goes on tour? To help generate attention for his or her book, an author will usually go on tour. Although there are many factors that go into deciding where an author should tour, it is ultimately up to the publicity and sales teams who “work together to gather event requests from stores across the country and also consider places where the author has a personal connection, or they think the book will have special appeal. Then with this at hand, they sit down with a map of the USA, Google Flights, a blank calendar, and one million cups of coffee and draft out a dream tour to hit as many of these stores and markets as possible, without exhausting the book’s budget…or the author!” (Elizabeth Hohenadel, Publicity) What are the various literary awards that an author can win? After a book has been published, it can be eligible to win a multitude of literary awards. These awards are “as vast and unique as books themselves. Along with the big national awards that any reader would have heard of, like the Nobel Prize or the Pulitzer, there are hundreds of other awards in a variety of categories. There are awards based on genre, like the Edgars for mysteries or the Hugos for sci-fi. There are awards based on age, like the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, which goes to writers under 35 or the Passager Awards for writers over 50. There are awards given based on gender, on sexual orientation, on ethnic and religious background, on the state where you were born, the number of books previously published, the amount of pets you have. OK that last one was a joke, but you get the drift, it’s a big world out there for literary awards!” (Elizabeth Hohenadel, Publicity) A Huge thank you to all of our employees who took the time to be interviewed. We hope their answers have helped you better understand the publishing process! Check back soon for another installment of The Book Lover’s Guide to Publishing.
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From the Editor’s Desk: Jake Morrissey, Executive Editor, on Three-Martini Lunch by Suzanne Rindell

Editors get very passionate about books they work on – the Editor’s Desk series is his or her place to write in-depth about what makes a certain title special. Get the real inside-scoop on how books are shaped by the people who know them best. The best present an author can give an editor is the gift of surprise. Editors spend their days reading a lot of manuscripts that don’t tell them anything new. So reading a story about a world you thought you understood framed in an unexpected way that prompts you to think differently about it, that’s hitting the publishing jackpot. Which is what I did when Three-Martini Lunch came across my desk. In this terrific novel, Suzanne Rindell delves into a world I knew something about – book publishing – but sets her story in the late 1950s, which was when big changes were about to take place. I thought I had a decent grasp of the era. I’m familiar with two other iconic New York stories from around that time: Rona Jaffe’s classic novel (and eventual movie) The Best of Everything and the television show Mad Men. In both of those, New York City is portrayed as one of the places to be in the mid-20th century. If you know anything about either The Best of Everything or Mad Men – or even Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 movie North by Northwest – you see a New York that’s sleeker, cleaner, less crowded than it is today. And the roles of men and women were as clearly defined then as their ambitions: Success for men meant career and advancement; success for women marriage and family. In Three-Martini Lunch, Suzanne Rindell peers beyond that mid-century mindset and explores the lives and worlds of Miles, Cliff and Eden, three young people struggling to gain a toehold in New York and hoping that publishing is the way to do that. The lives they lead are a far cry from the expense-account lunches and pristine suburban enclaves of the publishing elite. These young people are drawn to Greenwich Village and its emerging beatnik culture, with its dark and smoke-filled bars, jazz clubs, and poetry readings. And they struggle to stretch their meager bank balances by living in cramped, ramshackle apartments and having just enough money for food and beer but not always both. Suzanne gives her characters fascinating opportunities to pursue their individual ambitions and indulge their temptations. Even more compelling, she shows readers how the choices they make to achieve their goals changes them. I’m not giving anything away when I say that what you think of Miles, Cliff, and Eden at the beginning of Three-Martini Lunch will not be what you think of them at the end. As I followed the characters’ journeys through successive drafts of the novel, I found myself reassessing my own ideas about what was possible in publishing, in New York, and in America during that time. It was an era on the cusp of upheaval and turmoil, and it’s that change that Suzanne Rindell explores so effectively – and so surprisingly – in Three-Martini Lunch. Which is one of the highest compliments I can pay. Learn more about Three-Martini Lunch below!
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Penguin Random House Internships – The Inside Scoop, Part 2

For book lovers, snagging a summer internship in publishing is a very big deal. Now that it’s almost time to head back to school, we asked our interns about their experiences at Penguin Random House. 

Speakers Bureau Intern: Sara Chuirazzi 

To be completely honest, when I found out that I would be interning with the Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau this summer, I had no idea what that entailed. Even so, I packed my life into two suitcases and flew from my small Ohio town to New York City. It’s only been a month or so, but I’ve already learned so much about the business of publishing, and the speakers bureau, in particular (in addition to everything I’ve learned about city living!). Essentially, the speakers bureau represents authors in the world of paid speaking engagements–which I’ve found out is a vibrant, fast-paced industry. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a varied clientele base (libraries, corporations, schools, etc.) and large group of talented authors. Because the bureau represents the entire company, I am lucky enough to work with multiple imprints and types of literature. Not only does working in this capacity keep me up-to-date on new book releases, but I also feel well informed about current events and topics in which there is a demand for conversations, such as LGBT rights, leadership skills, and other social issues. It feels good to know that I am playing a small role in facilitating these important conversations by helping to send qualified, enthusiastic speakers into the world! This week, one of the agent directors from the speakers bureau presented at our intern lunch meeting and I was overwhelmed by how proud I felt to be part a of this close-knit, hardworking group. Beyond that, I was filled with gratitude for having the opportunity to work at a place that has such a healthy corporate culture and that places such a high value on mentoring. One of the most important things that I’ve learned in my time here is how special it is to connect with people who share your passions. How awesome is it to discuss books and writing with people all day?! What a great foundation to build a career on! I’ve also learned how important it is to get to know the people around you. It’s more than just “networking,” which young people are encouraged to do as frequently as possible. If you’re not actually interested in something, networking doesn’t work. You need to be genuinely interested in how people ended up where they are today, what they love about their jobs, and how you can create a career for yourself that is equally fulfilling. Here’s to an equally wonderful second half of my internship with Penguin Random House! Random House Publishing Group Art Intern: Arielle Pearl Arielle Pearl These past five weeks at Random House have been really educational and productive. I am interning in the Advertising/Promotions department, as well as the Art/Design department for the Random House Publishing Group imprint. Even on my first day I could tell that this was going to be a valuable experience that I would enjoy. Being an intern can be intimidating, but this is not the case at Random House. Everyone who works here is extremely humble, and friendly, and is eager to teach beginners the works of the business. It is an environment where teamwork is fostered, and the success of books is priority. In the Art department I am being supervised by Paolo Pepe, the SVP & Creative Director. I have been reading manuscripts and learning how to design book covers using Adobe Creative Suite and hand illustration. This process has been really challenging because everyone involved in the process has a very specific image of how they think the cover should look. One book that I am working on has been in the cover development process for almost a year. It has been really interesting learning about the process from such talented designers, as well seeing the selection process from the publisher’s point of view. For the art department, I’ve also been creating mechanicals using Adobe Creative Suite, and creating templates for e-books. In the Advertising and Promotions Department, I am being supervised by the Sr Director of Creative Services, Annette Melvin. For the department I have been using Adobe Creative Suite to create advertising materials for upcoming books, such as social media banners, and print ads. I’ve also been writing copy for upcoming book’s advertising campaigns.
Interns at a Networking Event

Digital Video Intern: Katie Susko 

Before I started interning at Penguin Random House, three things came to mind when I thought of book publishers: books, books, and more books. I never would have guessed that the things that I would be handling when working at a book publisher would be mobile apps and YouTube videos; and yet, here I am. And coincidentally, these two things are exactly what I want to be dealing with. An outsider may be confused as to why Penguin Random House hired an intern to report sales in the App Store, or analyze the audience retention of a video of Aziz Ansari at Book Con. But from the inside, this makes perfect sense. I am an intern for the app development and video production departments. My daily activities are centered on apps that we have created to accompany our books and brands, such as Fodor’s, Game of Thrones, and Cat in the Hat. My activities also involve our YouTube videos that promote our books, but also get people excited about reading in general. My day-to-day tasks are challenging because they are completely new to me (I’ve only had experience in editorial), but that makes my internship exciting. I never know what I’m going to do next. Aside from learning the ins and outs of a book publisher (from both my supervisors and from the amazing brown bag lunches), I now have knowledge in video production, marketing, sales, audience involvement, app design, and so much more. But in book publishing, there is always more to learn. Luckily, my supervisors and co-workers have encouraged me to get involved in as many aspects of publishing as I can while I’m in New York (we just don’t have the same opportunities back in Michigan). With this overwhelming encouragement, and inspiration from brown bag lunches, I hope to look more in depth at the art and editorial departments. I have studied these two subjects in school and would love to see how they are executed at an actual business (and then I can go back and brag to my professors). But you may be wondering: if I’ve been studying art and editorial, why are the app and video departments “exactly what I want to be dealing with”? I have always been fascinated with the way that others are able to take traditional ideas and transform and innovate as our world evolves. And that is exactly what my department is doing. Videos and mobile apps are not what you’d expect from a book publisher: and that’s why I want to be here. I am so blessed to be working with some of the most innovative and creative people I have had the pleasure to meet, and it has only added to my desire to be in the book publishing industry. For the rest of this internship, I hope to learn as much as I can about apps and videos; from the design and editing to, ultimately, the users’ interaction. I am so lucky to have this internship this summer (and the free books aren’t so bad either). Thanks to all our interns for all your hard work! You’ll be missed!