Editorial Services Guide
By The Bay Area Editors' Forum

Manuscript Preparation and Design


Stages of Publishing: Development
Traditional Stages Digital Technology's Impacts

At this stage, an editor works with an author or writer to develop an idea into a manuscript. The process usually includes writing a proposal and/or an outline as well as a series of drafts. The manuscript includes any specifications for artwork or photographs. Depending on the material, other editors or subject experts may review a draft of the manuscript.


The development stage may require the following kinds of editorial expertise:

Other participants at this stage may include co-authors, a ghostwriter, subject experts, reviewers, and the art or design director.

Word-processing software allows authors to submit manuscripts on disk. That eliminates the need for a typesetter to re-key a manuscript, resulting in the introduction of fewer errors. However, a copyeditor may overlook errors and inconsistencies in a polished-looking manuscript.

Prototyping and user testing of software titles and Web sites may take place at this stage.

In software and Web site development, the role of project editor or managing editor is usually filled by a project manager or producer; a producer is more responsible for a project's vision, a project manager for its execution. The new discipline of information design adapts aspects of traditional editorial development to interactive multimedia.

Required skills include knowledge of "authoring" programs (the approximate equivalent of typesetting programs for CD-ROMs and Web sites). Permissions for digital media publications are handled by a business or legal professional. Because digitally formatted text and artwork can be copied easily and online publication distribution is evolving rapidly, copyright laws are in flux in the United States and abroad.



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