Welcoming Rose to the Team

In September we were very excited to welcome a new recruit to the team. Rose is our new Editorial Administrator and although she’s only been with us for a couple of months, she already feels like one of the family! In this blog post we learn a bit more about her…

What were you doing before you joined us?

Most recently I was working at The Cheltenham Literature Festival as their Programme Manager, but prior to Cheltenham, after graduating from Exeter Uni with an English Lit degree and a PGCE in Secondary English, I spent eight years in Publishing: the majority of that as an editor at HarperCollins Publishers… So, it’s really always been about the authors and their books!

What attracted you to the job?

Having had a few years ‘off’ (HA!) at home with my baby son, I couldn’t wait to return to the world of books. Being able to work in an industry I love, with like-minded people, but still be there to pick Theo up from nursery at the end of his day, feels like I’ve won the lottery.

What were your first impressions?

I was immediately struck by what a wonderfully friendly and supportive team you are; and how positive, passionate and knowledgeable you are! You seem to genuinely care hugely about the work you do, and for each other. That’s a very inspiring workplace to be in.

Do you prefer ebooks or print books? What are you reading at the moment?

Both have their place; I love the fact that I can get a book recommendation from a friend or read a review and think, ‘ooh, that sounds interesting’ and within 5 minutes it’s there on my Kindle. That is amazing. But, it’s not quite the same as, say, browsing a bookshop, the smell of ‘real’ pages, a piece of stunning cover art or lending a favourite to a friend…

I have some treasured books inscribed by authors with whom I’ve worked, and as a children’s book editor, I also worked with some incredibly talented illustrators, too. My three year old son would argue very much in favour of the printed book!

I’m currently re-reading, for the eleventy-billionth time, Flambards by KM Peyton for a hit of childhood nostalgia and Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.

Do you have a favourite book?

How can you ask me this Flo?! Absolutely impossible to pick only one, or even narrow it down to less than about 50!

But if you absolutely insist, The Little House novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder which I’ve probably re-read every year since I was seven, Remains of the Day as my ‘grown up’ choice and Polo by Jilly Cooper as my guilty secret (shhhhh).

What do you like to do when you’re not in the office?

Scuffling about in wellies, outdoors, with my husband (occasionally), our three-year-old son and our spaniel. Followed by a G&T. or 3. And a good book. Obvs.

Rose with her dog, Percy

Behind the Scenes… What Happens to an Accepted Manuscript?

Once a manuscript has undergone external peer review, been suitably revised by the author and is approved for publication by the series editors (where relevant), it is accepted for publication. We then ask the author to complete an author questionnaire and checklist and start to get the manuscript moving towards production. But what are we doing exactly? In this post, Laura outlines the small but vital stages between editorial and production.

Commissioning Editors with books from their respective series

The first thing a Commissioning Editor does is book a slot on our production schedule. Each month we publish a certain number of books, typically between 4 and 6, so there are a limited number of places available. The Commissioning Editor will most likely have already provisionally pencilled in the manuscript well in advance of it being accepted, using their knowledge about the extent of the revisions required and how busy the author and series editors’ schedules are. But it is only now that a publication date is set and finalised. At this point it is therefore extremely helpful to us if authors keep to deadlines they have promised!

Once the Commissioning Editor has received all the final files and supporting documents, they will check through the manuscript one last time. They ensure that the author has submitted all the documents (table of contents, each chapter, references, appendices etc) and confirm that permission has been cleared for all material from external sources. They will then update the book’s proposal P&L with the latest word count, as we use this to estimate the pagination and price.

The book is then ready for the Commissioning Editor to schedule for discussion at the next in-house editorial meeting, usually held weekly. For those of us not involved in the book until this stage, this might be the first we’ve heard of it since the proposal was accepted, often some years previously! At the meeting we discuss and approve the title; make a final decision about the format (whether it will be published in paperback and hardback simultaneously) and approximate the print run.

With all of the above finalised, the Commissioning Editor is now ready to hand the book over for production and marketing. In order to make the handover process a smooth one and to help impart as much of their knowledge about the work to the rest of us as possible, they complete a handover sheet. The handover sheet splits naturally into three sections: key details about the work, then a production section, followed by marketing information.

The key details section is where we store absolute final information about the book, mainly what we decided on at the editorial meeting. It is where we look if we cannot remember whether we did decide to remove a comma from a title or exactly which subtitle we eventually chose! It is therefore like gold dust as it is vital that we are consistent, once we have made a decision: as soon as data starts to leave our database, it is sometime hard to find where it has gone and overwrite it.

Sarah, our Production Manager, hard at work

Next comes the production section where the Commissioning Editor will tell Sarah, our Production Manager, and Flo, who does the covers, information about the book. Sections include whether there is a preference for British or another variety of English; if the author already has a particular idea for the cover and if we have agreed anything special with the author, perhaps with regard to the layout or format. We also tell Sarah about what she might expect when working with the author. This includes things such as if one is taking the lead (in the case of multiple authors) or whether we know the author is about to go on leave. This is important as production runs to deadlines which are much firmer than those in editorial often are.

Finally comes the marketing parts of the handover. The Commissioning Editor writes the blurbs, suggests subject categories and says who to approach for cover endorsements. They will also advise the marketing department on the book’s highlights; note any geographical contexts featured in the book (which might be helpful for our local sales reps); list which of our other books it links with and state any other key selling points of the work. They will also let us know any bright ideas they have for any special, out-of-the-ordinary marketing!

We find that handing a manuscript over in this way works really well. Ultimately, the Commissioning Editor is the person in the office who knows most about the book and the more of their knowledge they can share with the rest of us, the more likely we are to have a smooth, enjoyable and successful publication.


The Life of a Book – Post-production!

Laura showing off some newly arrived books
Laura showing off some newly arrived books

Arguably the most exciting days in our office are the days when new books arrive. We love receiving such packages from the printer and having the final product in our hands, and we’re sure that our authors feel a sense of joy and achievement on receiving their copies. To some, this is seen as the end of a journey – the editorial and production work has been successfully completed and the job of publishing the work is done. But as a publisher, we’d be pretty useless if we saw this as the time to stop working with a book. In fact, for us in the marketing department, this is our moment to shine!

Elinor and I will have been busy in the run-up to publication setting things up ready for the book’s publication. This means that we will already have let all our distributors, wholesalers and sales reps know that the book is on its way; we will have ensured that the book has a complete listing on our website; and we will have provided the author with marketing materials, such as information sheets and discount flyers for them to give to any interested potential readers.

The ground has then been properly laid for us to start the immediate marketing of a book on publication. We announce that the work has been published to as many people as possible. We inform all industry members, such as wholesalers and sales reps, that the work is now available for their customers and try and reach as many customers as possible directly. This might be done by posting on listservs, such as Linguist List (Multilingual Matters titles) and Trinet (Channel View Publications titles), sending a newsletter to our email subscribers, sharing the news with our Facebook and Twitter followers and informing journal book reviews editors and authors of related blogs, for example.

All our new books are available simultaneously as print and ebooks, so there is also work to be done to get news of the ebook out. Sarah, our production manager, ensures that the book is available to purchase on a variety of platforms, and we ensure that it is also available on our own website. At this stage we also start to send out inspection/desk copies to those who have requested one from our website and we give the option of an ebook rather than a print copy. This means that course leaders get the text immediately and can start considering it for adoption on a course much quicker than the traditional way.

Anna and Tommi promoting our books at AAAL earlier this year
Anna and Tommi promoting our books at the AAAL conference earlier this year

Once the initial marketing has been completed and the buzz may have quietened down, we continue to publicise the work through other avenues. Common ways of doing so are through our catalogue mailings, and additional flyers and materials we produce for our sales reps, series editors and authors to distribute. We also attend many conferences throughout the year and always have lots of our recent and relevant titles with us on display. On occasions when we can’t attend an event in person we frequently send display copies and discount order forms to continue to make potential readers aware of our books.

When a book reaches 6 months old we review its progress at an editorial meeting. We look at the sales figures and discuss how its early sales are looking. This is a useful stage to review a title as it is still young enough to be of interest to booksellers and so we give a title a marketing boost if we feel that we may have missed an opportunity. This is the time when we start to see the very first reviews of a book appear in journals and these continue to appear over the course of the next few years.

On a book’s first birthday we again review its progress and might even start to think about reprinting copies of the work if it has been particularly successful. We monitor our stock levels each month so we try and ensure that we are on top of demand and that a book is always available, but occasionally we’ll receive an unexpected order, perhaps if it is suddenly adopted for a course and we receive a bulk order from a university bookshop preparing for the start of a semester.

Chinese translations of several books from our Languages for Intercultural Communication and Education series
Chinese translations of several books from our Languages for Intercultural Communication and Education series

We continue to monitor sales annually and promote the book when appropriate for as long as there is demand for it – often for many years after publication. Occasionally a book will receive additional attention, such as from a foreign publisher wishing to buy the rights to translate it into a foreign language. This is a really exciting time and such news is always greeted enthusiastically both in our office and by an author who is usually chuffed to hear that their work is to be translated and published for a new audience. We have recently sold our books for publication into languages such as Japanese, Chinese, Bahasa Melayu, Arabic, Korean, Macedonian and Greek. Of course at this point, the book gets a second lease of life and it’s down to the foreign publisher to repeat the life cycle of a book as outlined in this post!


A day in the life of an intern

Tom hard at work
Tom hard at work

Our current intern Thomas Williams tells us a bit about what the position involves…

As I’d been interested in a career in academic publishing, last year whilst at university I emailed Tommi, the Managing Director, about any possible work experience. Whilst at the time they weren’t able to offer a placement, they did invite me over for an afternoon in the office to sit in on an editorial meeting, which was really interesting.

A few months later I received an email from Tommi about an internship here – which I decided to apply for.

Before I began, I thought ‘intern’ was a euphemism for ‘person who makes coffee and shuffles paper around’. But that was wrong (because everyone here prefers to drink tea and most documents are on the computer system). Sure, it is mainly administrative, but then there is a lot of admin in publishing!

Day-to-day I deal with incoming emails and post, keep the in-house database up to date, process royalty payments and liaise with referees for the manuscript review process.

I’m not stuck doing the same repetitive tasks every day. As a small company, I’ve had a chance to undertake tasks in or shadow pretty much every aspect of publishing: the commissioning and editorial stages, production, marketing, permissions, foreign rights and getting involved in the weekly editorial meetings.

Channel View Publications has been a great company to work with, and I’ve had a great time working with Tommi, Sarah, Anna, Elinor and Laura. I genuinely look forward to Monday mornings here, which I think says a lot! The last two months here has flown by.

So, what next? I know I’d like to pursue a career in academic publishing, but I have no set plans exactly where I want to go. I’ll just keep my eye out for another exciting job somewhere. But I’ve had a great time here, and gained a lot of experience in a lot of different aspects of publishing – so I guess I’ve got a good start!

If you’re interested in applying for an internship here, keep an eye out on the careers page, which is updated from time to time with any new opportunities.

A Week in the Life of the Editorial Department

In today’s post our editorial director, Anna Roderick, gives us an insight into her job as our Editorial Director.

Anna - our Editorial Director
Anna – our Editorial Director

I’ve opted to describe a “week in the life” rather than a “day in the life” as there isn’t really a typical day in the editorial department. A large part of any day is spent responding to emails (and the occasional letter!) and so what I do is largely dictated by what arrives in my inbox. This can be anything from tentative enquiries about a new proposal, a reviewer submitting a report on a manuscript, an author checking something before submitting their manuscript, or a series editor suggesting I offer someone a contract. We’re very proud of our relationships with authors and series editors here at Channel View, and so it’s vital to us that we get this bit right, even though when I say I spend a large part of my time answering emails it doesn’t sound that important or exciting!

About once a week we have an editorial meeting, where we discuss new proposals, as well as titles, prices and print runs for books about to go into production. So another chunk of my time every week is spent preparing proposals for the meeting: reading through proposals and doing any necessary research, and working out how many copies I think we can sell and for what price (and if the figures don’t add up but I want to publish the book anyway, working out how I can persuade my colleagues that the figures don’t matter).

One of the nice things about working in a small team is that as commissioning editor I can get involved in all stages of a book, from proposal to publication (and beyond!). Therefore some time every week is spent looking at sales figures with Tommi and discussing how they affect our commissioning in the future, or thinking about additional content in ebooks with Sarah, or writing book blurbs with Ellie and Laura. I really like the continuity of having talked to an author about a vague idea for a book before they’ve even got as far as a proposal, and still being involved with the book several years after it has been published.

Anna celebrating 10 years working at Multilingual Matters
Anna celebrating 10 years working at Multilingual Matters

Until I went on maternity leave just over a year ago, I spent a lot of time ‘on the road’, attending conferences and visiting universities around the world. I’ve had to delegate this part of my job to my very capable colleagues for the time being, but getting out and about and meeting new and existing authors is one of the most essential (and interesting) parts of my job and I’ll be getting back to it as soon as I can.

And then there are the intangible parts of my job: I read around the subjects we publish in, I spend time looking at our lists and making sure they represent the priorities of the academic communities we serve, I keep an eye on what our fellow publishers are up to and much more.

With my editorial director hat on, I spend time every week looking even further into the future, and trying to work out what we should be publishing in 2, 5 or 10 years’ time. My aim is to make sure that we continue to publish innovative and important books in the subject areas we’re already active in, as well as providing the very best service we can for our authors, reviewers and series editors. And while doing that I’m always on the lookout for exciting new publishing opportunities, whatever they may be…

10 tips on submitting a book proposal

We receive hundreds of book proposals every year so it is really important that we have the essential information about the book so we’re able to make our decision. Our proposal guidelines set out exactly what we need to know at this stage so it is important to follow them carefully. You can find the guidelines on our website.

Books10 Tips

1. Make sure we are the right publisher for your book before you send the proposal. Please tell us if you are submitting to multiple publishers simultaneously.

2. Submit proposals by email not post.

3. State which series you think your book would be suitable for.

4. Follow our notes on submitting a book proposal carefully, answering all the questions in a clear, concise manner.

5. Proposals should not be longer than 4 or 5 pages. A full CV is not necessary – only a brief one which gives your most recent affiliation and important publications.

6. Define the possible readership accurately and realistically.

7. Please take time to research competing and complementary titles. If there are already several titles on the market in the same area we need to know why yours is going to be different or better.

8. Try to make the book appeal to a wider audience. Case studies should always be compared to and referred to other, preferably international, research on the subject.

9. If your book is based on a PhD, it must be completely re-written to fit a book format. For more advice on this please see the information on our website.

10. When submitting your final manuscript, follow our guidelines carefully. Please pay particular attention to references.

If you have a query about submitting proposals please contact the appropriate commissioning editor.

Commissioning and List Management Course

Last week I spent 4 days staying at a lovely hotel in Oxfordshire.  Sadly, I didn’t get to use any of the wonderful facilities or even spend a reasonable number of hours in my bed (which was very comfy!) as I was on a very intensive course on commissioning and list management.  The course was run by the Publishing Training Centre for those of us who are new to the editorial side of publishing and are interested in developing lists.

We had talks on topics which included market research, strategic list management, working with authors, finance, digital strategy, marketing, contracts and the law. It really was a complete overview of all aspects of the work and I came away buzzing with ideas and things to discuss with everyone back at the office.

The delegates were from big publishers which included OUP, Palgrave and Routledge, as well as the Commonwealth Secretariat (which has a not-for-profit publishing branch) and me, the only representative from an independent publisher. We were able to compare how some aspects of publishing are the same, whatever publisher you work for, and how some things can be quite different. I came away from the course feeling quite glad that we’re an independent publisher and can make decisions without having to approach various boards and meet targets!

Apart from the talks we also had a case study to work on in groups and present to the panel at the end of the course. My team looked at bringing a fading list of books into the 21st century by thinking about all the exciting digital products we could develop. Sadly, reality and finances may be a barrier for most of our ideas, but it was good to be thinking creatively about what publishing might be like in the next decade or so.