Publishing Overview

This memo will address the publishing process from the point of view of the editorial and production departments. The marketing department has its own schedule and forms. It is extremely important that you promptly fill out and return any marketing forms, share with them your ideas for people to provide blurbs for your book, and contact them when any marketing opportunities arise.


Soon after you have sent us your complete book project—inclusive of all illustrative material, permissions, appendixes, tables, charts, dedication, etc.—your manuscript will be assigned to a copyeditor, who will work under my direction. I will let you know who the copyeditor is, when you should expect to receive the edited manuscript for review, and when you'll need to send it back to the editor. During this time, you will be working directly with your copyeditor, but if you have any questions he or she can't answer, please don't hesitate to contact me.

In most cases, I will instruct the copyeditor to focus on correcting basic grammatical and mechanical errors, on reading for clarity, and on bringing the manuscript into conformity with Iowa's house style (we follow the Chicago Manual of Style unless you and your acquisitions editor have agreed upon another style manual).

Most manuscripts will be edited by hand: the copyeditor will make corrections directly on the final hard copy you submitted. While working on the project, the copyeditor may contact you with questions and suggestions as he or she irons out the difficulties inherent in shaping your manuscript according to University of Iowa Press guidelines. In order to maintain your book's schedule, please respond promptly to any queries. The copyeditor will send the fully edited manuscript to you, at which time you will be asked to review it carefully and to answer any remaining questions on the text, a critical step in the publication process because it is your last opportunity to make substantive changes. You will have approximately two weeks to make sure the text and references are complete, your quotations are accurate, your wording is final, your writing is clear. We cannot allow rewritings, major deletions or additions, or extensive global changes (such as capitalizing every appearance of a word) after this stage. We assume that once you return the manuscript to the copyeditor for final cleanup, the text is finalized.

After the final cleanup, the copyeditor will return the manuscript to us. As I go through it carefully to prepare it for the designer and typesetter, I may need to contact you if I have any questions or comments.

Design and Typesetting

The design and typesetting stage usually takes two to four months, depending on the complexity and length of the project and the designer's and typesetter's schedules. All copyediting changes will be transferred to the disk by the typesetter. As soon as the page proof date is scheduled, I will contact you with that information, so you'll know when to block out time to read proofs and index your book.

Jackets and Covers

Any ideas you have concerning jacket/cover art should be discussed with your acquisitions editor right away. Often, we need written permission to use artwork, and this process may take us some time. Please be aware that while we appreciate your help and input, the final design is ultimately the decision of the Press. The jacket/cover will utilize the appropriate blurbs from among those we receive for your book. Some blurbs may be edited because of space considerations.

Page Proofs

When I receive page proofs from the typesetter, I will FedEx a set to you for proofing and indexing. You will have approximately two weeks to complete that work and return the proofs to me. I will also be giving a set of proofs to a professional proofreader, along with the original copyedited manuscript. The proofreader will make sure that all the changes on the manuscript were set in type in the proofs. He or she will verify that all textual elements (table of contents, chapter titles, running heads, captions, etc.) have been typeset according to the designer's specifications and that illustrations have been placed appropriately, are consistent in form, and are accurate. Your responsibility will be to read through the text itself and correct any typos, punctuation errors, reversed photographs, switched captions, etc. Page proofs should be read carefully, but changes should be limited to those necessary to correct typographical errors, errors in fact, and editorial inconsistencies. Any nonessential revisions will require the approval of the Press and may be billed to you. No changes can be made that affect page layout. At this point our production schedule is usually tight. Delays in returning proofs and the index are likely to postpone the scheduled release date of your book, which in turn may adversely affect sales.

After I receive your corrected proofs, I will transfer the approved changes to the proofreader's master copy and send it back to the typesetter.


If your contract calls for you to provide an index, I urge you to begin the process even before the page-proof stage by creating an alphabetized list of names, places, and subject terms from your manuscript. Then, when you receive the page proofs, you will only need to add the inclusive page numbers, rather than starting from scratch.

Our guide for indexing is the Chicago Manual of Style. In all cases, the index must be double-spaced, and we need both a digital file and a printout.

If you would prefer that a freelance editor work on the index for your book, please contact me or your acquisitions editor to discuss that option. You would be responsible for paying the freelancer.

You will not receive page proofs of the index.

After you complete your work on the index, relax! The rest is up to us.

Printing and Binding

Making and checking proof corrections, adding and proofreading the index, and coordinating all the other remaining elements of book production usually require several weeks and several trips back and forth between the Press and the typesetter. When everything has been done, your book is sent to the printer, who will in turn send the Press a set of proofs for a final review. These proofs are reviewed by the production and editorial departments to check for continuous pagination and formatting. When the proofs are approved, the books are printed, bound, and sent to the warehouse—which usually takes around two months.

The entire production process, from copyediting to book-in-hand, takes approximately eight to ten months. I look forward to working with you!