One of this year’s SCBWI Industry Insider Events was a visit to the Random House Publishing House where Editors Carmen McCullough and Naomi Colthurst talked us through their publishing process.
When they receive a manuscript from an agent they talk as a team in an editorial meeting and then an acquisition meeting where everyone would have read the whole book. All reading is done in their own time. Carmen and Naomi will often read five to six titles a week.
It is unusual for something to go to acquisitions and not get through. Once acquired the book is scheduled and there is a structural edit. Structural edit deadlines vary. Some may tie in with specific events. Delivery dates will be specified in the contract. Naomi specifies a month in the first instance. Carmen often allows more than a month but if the edits drag on she will reduce to two weeks. These are additional edits that happen after a structural edit with an agent.
A structural edit can go 2 or 3 rounds before going to the Editorial Two Team for copy edits. Naomi has never taken on a book that does not need editing for at least two rounds. Copy edits are often with an out of house freelance editor. When it is approved it will then go to the Production Team. The whole editing schedule usually takes about a year.
Six months before the book is due to be launched Publicity will work on feature ideas, press and events. There are also rigorous cover meetings.
From start to finish the whole process may take two years with everyone working in unison.
…the book goes on and on as Random House continue to find ways in which they can keep marketing and publicity going.
Overall Random House aim to:
- Make the big brands bigger
- Reinvent the Classics with new cover looks and picking a hero title each year to pitch a high-level campaign that is often tied into events like Science Week.
- Push their dazzling debuts as tomorrow’s brands today.