The creation, collation, editing and publishing of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook every year is a team endeavour.

Six months of intense effort results in 832 print pages, 2 e-book versions, and an online subscription database; running alongside is the Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook (480 pages). 

The various stages through which the content travels, is a perfect illustration of the publishing process more generally: how a book in its different formats is produced, managed and delivered to market. The schedule we work to might be slightly swifter than for some books, but I hope this digest of who does what when will provide some insight into the book publishing process.

Preparation: In January each year our editorial team plan the content for the next edition: what’s new (and what’s not). We agree a schedule and budget, consulting colleagues in production and sales well in advance of publication date providing a cover, blurb, catalogue and other copy that will be sent to physical and e-bookshops.

Commissioning: February is when the content gets commissioned. New articles and the Foreword are written by stellar authors who we think have something interesting to share; as Editor, I’ll negotiate fees, delivery date and what each piece might cover, direct with authors or with their agent. Existing articles are reviewed, overhauled, updated or archived as appropriate and the 3,800 listings entries (who to contact across the media industries) are emailed to the companies and organisations, including publishers, agents, societies and prize-giving bodies, for their annual updates.

Editing & design: March is when the editorial team springs into action to update and edit the listings entries and to research and create new entries to reflect changes since the previous edition. Their editing of both listings and articles also involves making sure the content is clear, accurate and consistent and is in line with our House Style.

Typesetting & proofing: April  The manuscript content that was edited in March is transformed into typeset page proofs: the content is designed and presented in the way it will appear in the final book. Indexes are automatically created from the database in which all the content of the Yearbook resides. We concentrate on reading and rereading the proof pages to ensure the text is readable, ordered and accurate and I need to make sure we are hitting our target page extent and thus keeping to our costs.

Passing for press: May is when we do our final checks and make sure we have our advertising plates ready, and that the final cover and spine, with blurb in place, are ready to go to the printers. Sales colleagues set a print run, P&Ls are run to confirm the financial returns we are likely to receive, paper is ordered, a printer and our e-book conversion team stand by to receive final print-ready PDFs.

Marketing & publicity: June is when our publicity colleagues prepare a plan for getting the Yearbooks into the hands of our readers. They create a press release, social media assets, set up marketing events (such as the online talk I’m delivering this year), arrange promotional deals and marketing materials and generally create a ‘buzz’ around the book.

Publication & sales: July We have made it! Another Yearbook hits the shelves. We take a summer break and I start to think about who I might approach for next year’s Foreword and inspiring articles . . .

The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2021 and Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2021 publish on 23 July. See also the Writers’ & Artists’ Guide to Getting Published.