Book Publishing Operations: Personnel

12 Dec

Given that we have four full-time staff members (and a small army of graphics and editorial interns each semester), everyone has clearly delineated responsibilities and duties in order to most effectively contribute to the overall operation of the office. At the same time, however, we all have to be flexible and be willing (and able) to pitch in where necessary when circumstances demand it. Today I’d like to briefly describe what each of us at TSTC Publishing does. In subsequent posts, I’ll detail more thoroughly the ins and outs of each position but the following should provide a basic overview.

Publisher (Mark Long)

As the publisher, I am responsible for overseeing the editorial, production, and business operations of the office. On the editorial end, that means I work with Christopher Wilson, our full-time editor, to make sure projects in development are moving forward in a timely manner. As far as production goes, that means I work with Grace Arsiaga, our full-time graphics specialist, to ensure the layout and design of projects meet our graphics standards. Finally, on the business front, I work with Tammy Turner, our departmental secretary, to keep track of sales and fill book orders in addition to our purchases, requisitions, and the like.

On a day-to-day basis Chris and Grace oversee the production of books and Tammy keeps track of book sales/orders and other departmental paperwork. So, because they do the jobs they do–and do them well–that frees me up to spend much more of my time on acquisitions (finding the most lucrative projects for us to publish) and marketing (trying to sell as many of the books we’ve published as possible). In particular, because we’re pretty well stocked on projects in development/production, most of my time over the next six months or so will be concerned with marketing. Finally, I also work to come up with different strategic initiatives designed to increase our revenue and/or market presence.

Departmental Secretary (Tammy Turner)

Tammy manages the office on a day-to-day basis: answers phones, does departmental paperwork relating to payroll and purchases, and is our customer service point of contact. That is, anyone who orders books from us–either bulk orders from bookstores or single-copy purchases through our e-commerce site–will have their order handled by Tammy. In addition, she is always working to build up our databases of contact information for people around the country that we’ve identified as being potential buyers of books we’ve published.

Publishing Editor (Christopher Wilson)

Christopher works with authors working on books for us, proofreads and copyedits manuscripts that are finished, and then preps those manuscripts for layout by Grace Arsiaga, our graphics specialist. In addition, because he sees projects from the very beginning (somebody working on a book for us) to the end (proofing the final proof copy of a book before it goes to print) he tracks the progress of a book through both the editorial and design stages via production checklists that we design specifically for each individual project. He also oversees the editorial interns who do much of the preliminary proofreading, copyediting, and manuscript prep, as well as some original content production and research.

Graphics Specialist (Grace Arsiaga)

Grace’s main job is to assemble the various elements of a book–cover and interior pages (front matter, each chapter, back matter)–and make sure that its technical specifications are correct when it goes to press. Her job is very detail oriented because any one book may have 5-10 people–at least!–working on various elements of it. That means she has to make sure everything is exactly where it needs to be and doing what it needs to be doing. She is also our point of contact with the TSTC Printing Production when our books go to print. Finally, she oversees the training of our graphics interns and preps the various individual graphics piece work that they do for larger projects. She also works with our work study (Grant Jurries) and student worker (Kelly Spencer) who are working exclusively on illustrations for a hand tools book in development.

Interns (Editorial & Graphics)

Each semester we have 10-15 interns who work in the office. About two-thirds of them come from TSTC Waco’s Advertising Design & Print Technology program and the rest come from Baylor University’s journalism program. The interns do much of the front-line work both editorially and graphically that is later checked (and has final clean up done) by Chris and Grace. Most of the cover designs for our books and interior illustrations are done by interns. If it wasn’t for them, much of the work we do just couldn’t be done. For example, the hand tools book we’re working on will have almost 300 separate illustrations . . . which, if Grace had to do all of those graphics herself, wouldn’t leave her time to do anything else for weeks at a time. Finally, the internship is a good experience for these students because the work they do is work that is going to go into production so that they will see an actual published final product–that can go in their portfolio–when it’s done.

Final Thoughts

Things have certainly changed since I first moved out of TSTC Waco’s English department to head up the publishing operation in May 2004. Back then it was a one man show as I tried to juggle all of the duties laid out above as well as possible. But, with the strategic addition of various positions–we first hired a graphics specialist in October 2005 and the departmental secretary and publishing editor in May 2006–the publishing operations responsibilities have been effectively divided between us. To be honest, it was hard for me–initially, at least!–to let go of many of the jobs I was used to doing; at the same time, however, it was good that I’ve done a little bit of everything in the office so that I have a basic understanding of what everyone does.

Mark

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