It might not be the kind of thing you’ve thought about when you were reading a book, but have you ever considered the process behind how it got from a concept in the mind of the author to the text you’re holding in your hands? It’s a highly complicated process and in the modern age where everything is turning to digital, it’s even more complex for publishers and authors to get their work into the public eye.
As members of the public, the target audience for these publishers, all we need to really concern ourselves with is how to get the content from, for example, the www.sainsburysebooks.co.uk site onto our chosen device, whether that’s a Kindle, iPad or similar. However, it’s interesting to know where things come from and the various steps taken to get from concept to product.
With an eBook many feel it is as simple as putting an article live on the web and then making sure people can buy it – a bit like adding your new range of clothing to an ecommerce website. This, to some extent, is true but there is a lot more work ‘behind the scenes’ than you might think between the point where the author hits save and the customer clicks download.
To start with, the article has to be professionally formatted with the appropriate page breaks and tabs among other formatting issues that may not come out the same way as the computer used by the author. From here, it needs to be turned into an ePub file, which is a generic computer file used on all devices (whether Microsoft or Apple for example), but this can take several hours depending on the length of the book, so that it meets the requirements of all eBook publishers. If they don’t approve the quality of the script (formatting), then they will send it straight back to be edited.
Having passed the stringent checks, it then needs to be proofed by the quality control department. Sure, this could be automated by simply using the spellchecker on an office software package – and often is – but to avoid any errors humans will also check it for spelling mistakes, formatting errors and incorrect coding so that the reader will have a seamless experience with the book.
Once it has finally been formatted and checked, it’s then over to the likes of Amazon, Sainsbury’s and other sellers and organising the relevant images, metadata and other online information plus any special promotions such as pre-order discounts, so that it is packaged and ready to go out.
So, as you can now tell, it’s not as simple as type the book, check the spellings and hit publish. There is a drawn out process that ensures that the book is as pleasing on the eye as it can possibly be so that the readers can enjoy your title in all its glory, just as the author intended.