For Authors > Author's Guide > Production Process
After you submit the final approved manuscript, your acquiring editor and editorial associate will prepare it for the next stages in the production process. This may take a few weeks. Prior to formal transmittal, our colleagues in production will review the manuscript text files and will make sure that all art files are suitable for reproduction. If there are any questions or concerns at this stage, your acquiring editor or editorial associate will let you know.
Once in the production department, the manuscript is assigned to a production editor, who will begin working with your manuscript. Your production editor will contact you and give you a general overview of the production process, including a projected schedule for the various editing and proofing stages of the process. Our XML-first workflow includes in-depth tagging. The tagging adds in some extra preparation time at the beginning of the process but pays off in later stages of production. Once the tagging is complete, your manuscript will be assigned to a copy editor. Copy editing itself is generally scheduled to take between four and six weeks, depending on the length and complexity of the manuscript and the Press’s overall workload. The copy editor will edit the manuscript files electronically for spelling, grammar, consistency, cross-referencing, sentence structure, and style. Style includes capitalization, punctuation, hyphenation, treatment of numbers, and notes and bibliography or references. We generally follow the conventions of The Chicago Manual of Style (latest edition, www.chicagomanualofstyle.org) but may also follow MLA or other styles.
The copyedited files will be sent to you to review, to answer any queries, and to return to your production editor within three to four weeks. This is your last opportunity to make changes without charge. Minor changes and corrections, along with short comments and answers to the copy editor’s questions, should be indicated right in the edited files. If you make a change, such as in the spelling of a name, do so consistently throughout. We will not reread the manuscript when you return it, but we will review the manuscript for your changes and responses to questions. If you choose to make changes to the notes, please renumber them accordingly, both within the text and in the notes section.
It is important to meet the deadlines given to you. A delay of a few days may result in a loss of weeks in the typesetter’s or printer’s schedule. If you know in advance that you will be unavailable at a certain time, please let your production editor know.
The edited manuscript is set directly into the page proofs. You will have a chance to read the page proofs. Generally, you should expect to receive the page proofs within two to three months from when you return the copyedited manuscript. If your book will have an index, the index should be created at this stage, as the page proofs will reflect the pagination that will appear in the published book. If you know that you will be using a professional indexer, it is best to contact this person directly after you have returned your edited files. Most indexers schedule projects a few months in advance, and this is the best time to coordinate when your project's index will be created.
As volume editor, you must be prepared to resolve any questions raised by the copy editor and to contact contributors if you find it necessary. We will not send the copyedited essays to the individual contributors for review. You will ultimately be responsible for the factual accuracy, consistency, and good taste of the essays. If you think it advisable, you may send the contributors the edited manuscript or the proof of their chapters, but you will be responsible for making sure they return the manuscript to you with their corrections in time for you to meet your deadline. We ask that you transfer the contributors’ corrections onto your complete manuscript or set of proof and return it to the Press.
You will have three to four weeks for proofreading the page proofs. The proof will be sent to you electronically as a PDF, along with instructions on how to indicate errors or corrections. Read the page proofs word for word, answer any queries, and fill in any page numbers that are missing from citations. Check cross-references and note numbers again.
Please be aware that alterations on proof can be very expensive. See your contract for the terms of charges for making alterations on proof. (This does not include the correction of typesetter’s errors.)
Since most of our authors are responsible for producing the index for their books (consult your contract if you’re not sure), it’s a good idea to talk to your acquiring editor about it early in the process. Your editor may have preferences with regard to length or style that you’ll want to keep in mind.
You should compile the index at the same time as you are reviewing the PDF of the page proof. Specific indexing instructions will be sent to you by the production editor for your book regarding the desired length and scope of the index. When the index is completed, a Microsoft Word file of the index should be emailed to the production editor along with any page proof corrections. If you will be hiring an indexer, please be sure to schedule the work so that the index can be returned with the page proof corrections. If you would prefer to hire a professional indexer, your acquiring editor or production editor will be happy to share our current lists of professional indexers.
We have written up a set of instructions on index creation. Please use these instructions if you are creating your index yourself, and, please pass them along to your professional indexer if you are hiring the index out.
Additionally, you can consult the The Chicago Manual of Style and the American Society for Indexing for further guidance.
After you have returned your page proofs, it will be corrected by the typesetter and changes will be checked by University of Michigan Press staff. If your book has an index, the index will be edited and typeset during this time.
Cover, printed case, or jacket copy is prepared early in the production of your manuscript, based on the promotional information you provide in your Promotional Blueprint (PDF).
The front cover design will be done very early in the production process, to assist with the marketing department's promotional efforts for your book. Therefore, your suggestions regarding the design of the jacket or printed case (for hardbound books) and cover (for paperbound books) are needed at the time you submit your manuscript to your acquiring editor. This should include actual files of images that you are suggesting for the cover. Keep in mind that book covers require large, high-resolution original art files to print effectively. Book covers are an important tool for selling and promoting your book, so cover images cannot be used on a fair use basis; written permission is always required to use an image on the cover of a book, unless the image is in the public domain.
We appreciate your input and take your ideas seriously. Your art ideas will be discussed by the marketing department, which has the final say in all art choices. Then your editorial associate will get back to you with the decision, so that the art can be purchased and permissions finalized right away. You will be shown a version of the cover design when it is completed.
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