What Does It Mean To Publish?

By: Carlos Lehotti

To publish means to make information and literature available for the public to view. Publishing involves the process of producing and distributing literature so that the public can have access to it. Sometimes, certain authors publish their own work and in that case they become their own publishers.

The traditional meaning of the word "publishing" means to print newspapers and books on paper and distribute them. But now with improved technology we have the Internet and other digital information systems. So, now publishing is done not only through printing but also electronically. Of late a large number of periodicals and books have been published online and electronically through CDs and DVDs.

The authors of traditional printed materials sell exclusive territorial intellectual property rights that match the list of countries in which distribution is proposed (i.e. the rights match the legal systems under which copyright protections can be enforced). In the case of books, the publisher and writer must also agree on the intended formats of publication mass-market paperback, "trade" paperback and hardback are the most common options.

The situation is slightly more complex if electronic formatting is to be used. Where distribution is to be by CD-ROM or other physical media, there is no reason to treat this form differently from a paper format, and a national copyright is an acceptable approach.

If you want to publish a book, there are several steps involved in the process. The steps involved in publishing are development, acquisition, editing, designing of cover etc, production (which involves printing on paper or electronically), marketing and distribution.

The first step involved if you want to publish a book is submission. The author or the literary agent has to submit a proposal or query letter. The next step in the publishing process is negotiation. Once the proposal has been accepted, the commissioning editors start to negotiate the purchasing of intellectual property rights and finally agree on a certain rate. One of the main steps in publishing is the editorial stage. In this stage of publishing, the work to be published is reviewed and proofread and if any changes are to be made the author is asked to rewrite or make some small changes. This is done usually to match the grammatical requirements and style of each market. Requesting for additional information and structural changes are part of this stage of publishing.

Next stage in publishing is the prepress stage. Once the text is finalized, the design has to be decided. Artwork, photographs and layout need to be finalized. Typesetting is done for placement of artwork and setting the layout. Proofreading is done in this stage of publishing also. Paper quality, composition of dust jacket and binding method has to be decided. Once typesetting is done, the files are saved normally in the PDF format.

The publisher is the one who usually controls marketing tasks such as advertising. If it is a small company, tasks such as proofreading, editing and layout may be outsourced to freelancers.

This is only a simple overview of what it takes to publish a book. If you successfully publish one book, you can start thinking about a reprint or about publishing a new book!

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