35 Tips for Crashing a Book
The Editorial Process
4. From the onset of a book crash, make sure that the author is aware of the schedule and what the process will entail. “If everyone has the same goal in mind, it is much easier to keep everything running smoothly,” says Foote.
5. Work electronically as much as possible. “We certainly work electronically through developmental editing and copy editing, and sometimes even after, with proofreaders using software to electronically mark the typeset pages,” says Foote, noting that this saves critical days of shipping hard copies back and forth.
6. Establish relationships with freelancers who are willing to work on very tight schedules. “We have some people we work with who we know if, [for example,] we need somebody to proof something overnight, we know this guy has done it for us before; he may do it again,” says Johnson. “We have a list of [freelancers we can go to].”
“We have some [freelancers, such as editors, book designers and typesetters] who understand the nature of our work and are willing to work on very tight schedules when they know we are crashing a title,” adds Foote.
7. In addition to or in lieu of freelancers, utilize in-house staff who can copy edit and proofread, suggests Foote, noting that this can “slice days and even weeks” from schedules. Foote adds that Chelsea Green’s typical turnaround times for a crashed book are: copy editing, one to three days; book design, three days; and proofreading, one day.
8. Ask authors to review materials by the end of the current day, or the next day, advises Foote.
9. If the manuscript is not complete when the contract is signed, begin editing the chapters that are completed. “This can help the author move more quickly to finish the manuscript and get it into production,” says Foote.
10. Develop relationships with printers that are willing to provide you with quick turnaround times. “Our production director has developed close relationships with two printers … [that] are willing to give excellent turnaround times—sometimes shipping bound books within two weeks of our releasing the files,” says Foote.
“It’s key to have this relationship in place before you ask for the ‘near impossible,’” adds Susan Beale, director of manufacturing for F+W-owned Adams Media.
11. This is not the time to try a new print vendor. “Award these types of jobs to a print vendor you can rely on and whose quality you can trust,” says Beale.
12. Contact your sales representative at the printer as soon as the decision has been made to crash a title. “Your rep is your biggest supporter, and will guide the plant and take your needs up the chain, if necessary, to get you the best schedule possible,” advises Beale. “Follow up with a conference call [with] your sales rep and any plant representatives, such as customer service, quality managers and prepress, to align everyone’s expectations and concerns. Now is a good time to talk about alternatives or options with your vendor to save time, including [the] possibility of your printer handling the fulfillment, rather than [waiting] to deliver to your warehouse.”
13. Ask your printer to waive advances. “… Have your printer quality-check the product as it comes off the bindery (ask for at least two people—the shift supervisor and your [customer service representative], if possible),” says Beale. “This is where working with a preferred vendor is crucial, as they should have a good sense of your expectations. If you have a particularly complex design that requires you to approve the printed pages, opt for a set of printed [folded and gathered signatures] to be sent to you as it comes off press, [instead of waiting] to see a bound copy.”