What do publishers do?

When I was “just” an author and had not become a publisher, I used to ponder on this question. Now that I am – what ? A poacher turned gamekeeper? – I know the answers all too well.

I’ve created this handy guide for what we have to do at the Greystones Press for every title. Not all the jobs take the same amount of time but they are all time-consuming. And I am adding to it all the time as I do routine tasks for each title and realise it hasn’t been put on the list.

Maybe it will be useful for self-published authors and other small independent presses:

  • Commissioning
  • Acceptance
  • GP edits
  • Contract
  • Allocation of ISBN
  • AI (Advance Information sheet) 5-6 months before publication
  • Submission to Bookseller + Buyers Guide
  • Editing/Copy-editing
  • Text design
  • Proofreading
  • Text formatting for e-books
  • Put up Kindle texts and ePub formats
  • Cover illustration
  • Cover design
  • Advertise in Gardners’ catalogue
  • Notify Nielsens
  • Files to Clay’s
  • Rights
  • PR and marketing
  •  (Launch)
  • Press Release – author bio and photo, cover, puffs
  • Indy bookshops – let them know about new publications
  • Send books to reviewers
  • Send books to six Copyright libraries
  • List on Publishers Licensing Service
  • Post-publication put reviews up on Nielsen Title Editor

I make that about twenty-five tasks without a launch, which is optional. For various logistic reasons, we had to have a virtual launch of our spring titles, which we did on the Greystones Press Facebook page and it was a great success. We are hunting for an Oxford venue to launch our autumn titles as Blackwell’s bookshop has stopped offering the free use of a room for book launches.

Do let us know if you can think of other jobs that need doing; we probably are doing them but they might have missed the list.