Discover the optimal way to manage the publication process

This is an opinionated description of the publishing process. There are plenty of viable ways to publish, so consider this guide to be one option – but it is the process that Consonance is optimised to support.

1. Assign responsibility for data management

Key point: Authorise whoever is responsible for data management.

Agree who will be responsible, for which product groups, for the data entry, accuracy, and maintenance of the following types of data.

  • Proposal brief. Usually commissioning editors
  • Sales forecasts. Usually commissioning editors
  • Costs forecasts. Usually production
  • Metadata. Sometimes managing editors, often editorial assistants
  • Contract terms. Usually commissioning editors
  • Contact information. Usually editorial assistants
  • Schedules set-up. Usually editorial assistants, sometimes production

Who is responsible for your metadata, in your company? Ideally it’s someone senior, because your metadata is your shop front to the outside world. If data is incorrect in Consonance, it’s incorrect on Amazon, and around the supply chain.

If the person in charge of metadata is someone junior, that’s OK, but they need to have the authority that goes along with the role.

If the newest editorial assistant has to make sure all the data for all the works in their imprint are up to date by the close of every working day, that shows a great focus on the importance of metadata quality. But the rest of the company must also be aware that, when it comes to data for their titles, they now answer to this junior assistant. The assistant must have both the responsibility, and the authority, to actually do the job.

Look at all the roles in your company. Do they overlap? Do they conflict? How many people have been given the responsibility for tasks, but not the authority to deliver?

Read a complete article about responsibility vs authority.

2. Capture the concept early

Key point: Add product data to Consonance as soon as it is a publishing possibility.

Add product data immediately so your records are as complete as possible, and to plan your list efficiently and with insight.

  • Add whatever information is available at the start of products’ lifecyles
  • The originator of the idea adds the data to Consonance
  • Do not type it up in Word or an email first
  • Plan to add to the metadata as details become available on the run-up to publication

Read how to add products and titles to Consonance.

3. Manage the approval process

Key point: manage the approval decision in one place, for consistency and future reference.

The publication decision requires analysis, planning and informed judgement. The benefits of using Consonance to manage the approval process are as follows.

  • You know where the numbers are, and you can share them easily with colleagues
  • Data is stored and presented in a consistent manner which makes it easier to assess competing proposals
  • The structure provides a reminder of the detail that must be entered in order for a proposal to be comprehensive
  • The estimations and assumptions are stored permanently. Check their accuracy at a later stage and improve future processes
  • You know how much money you will make if your sales and costs come in as you forecast. If you don’t forecast your revenues and costs, and check that the former will exceed the latter, you could be driving towards bankruptcy and not even know it

To answer the question of whether this book fits your list and will be profitable, follow these steps.

  1. Make your editorial argument in a proposal brief
  2. Make your financial argument in a Profit and Loss (P&L)
  3. Hold the acquisition meeting
  4. Publishing decision

Proposal brief

The proposal is the document in which the proposing editor makes the non-financial, editorial and marketing-focussed case for the publication. Use this brief to gather all this information into a single document that can be circulated for comment and finally put to the editorial management team for their decision on whether to go ahead with the publication. It is a collection of information about the new book that includes its bare details, such as the title and subtitle, the editor who is proposing it, and the author, and marketing information. Download as a PDF document for printing or distribution.

Read how to create a proposal brief.

Profit and Loss (P&L)

The P&L collates financial data from a number of departments into one page. The main components of a P&L are as follows.

  • Revenue, from expected and confirmed product and rights sales. Commissioning editors and sales managers work together to agree this forecast; agree who is responsible for entering the data into Consonance.

  • Costs of production. Define the names of the cost groups and finance codes e.g. editorial origination, print origination, and actual print costs. Editorial origination costs include author expenses, indexing, proofreading, artwork, and other design. Print origination costs include DTP settings and repro. These are configurable: go to Settings > Finance > Cost groups and finance codes.

Read how to add forecast sales to your P&L.

Read how to add forecast costs to your P&L.

The acquisition meeting

Use a Pipeline to organise and run the acquisition meeting.

Read how to create and use a pipeline.

Confirm contribution on the P&L

Come to a decision about whether or not to publish the title at the acquisition meeting. If you agree to go ahead, click ‘Confirm contribution’ at the bottom of the P&L. Your forecast is used to create an immutable budget.

4. Manage the publication process

Key point: manage the publication process in one place, drawing in data from throughout the system.

There are hundreds of tasks that need completing to get a book published. Use Consonance’s task management tools to plan and stay on track. Hold a workshop including all key players throughout your team to work out your template schedules offline before you attempt to formalise them in Consonance.

Schedules

  • Use the Gantt editor to create lists of tasks
  • Don’t put a due date on the tasks
  • Don’t link tasks together
  • Use the list of tasks as a checklist. Edit it from the work overview page, the tasks page and the Gantt page.

Advanced schedules

  • Use the Gantt editor to create lists of tasks
  • Put a due date on the tasks
  • Link tasks together, making some dependent on others
  • Edit it from the Gantt page

For both basic and advanced options, do the following.

  • Search and review tasks on the Tasks page and the Schedules page to check progress. Read about task management.

  • Manage issues as they arise on the Work overview page. Read how to manage issues.

Manage calendars

Export the dates on your schedules into the iCal format, to see them in Outlook or Google Calendars. Read how to manage calendars.

5. Manage contracts and royalties

Key point: Consider contracts-to-royalties to be one process.

To provide a seamless experience for contributors and licensors, generate contract PDFs from Consonance. As well as storing the details of the agreement, the contracts contain royalty rates, which means there is no additional data entry for royalties.

  • Once you have made the publishing decision, add the terms of your offer to the contract in Consonance

  • Generate the PDF contract and send to the signatory

  • Later, import sales and do a royalty run, generating batches of royalty statements in PDF.

Read how to edit a contract

Read how to add a contract template

Read how to import sales

Read how to calculate royalties

Read how to generate statements

6. Disseminate data

Key point: Export data in the most relevant format for its recipient.

  • ONIX is a structured way of sharing book metadata, designed by the booktrade, for the booktrade. Incremental feeds avoid frequently sending enormous files.

  • Excel spreadsheets are a more universally-accepted way to share information, if your recipient does not accept ONIX.

  • Human-readable, well-designed PDFs are suitable for sales materials such as AIs, catalogues and rights guides.

  • Use Consonance as the source of feeds to your website, distributors and printers.

Ask us for support to set up ONIX feeds

Read how to set up your AI

Read how to create a product custom report

Read how to download covers

Read about our product API