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How Introducing a Systematic Workflow Can Improve Publishing Productivity

One of the key issues faced by most authors is juggling between various formats during different stages of the production process.

Whilst most of the authors are well versed and comfortable with Word, the format changes to PDF once the text is typeset. Marking these changes and reviewing the text in PDF is a shift that is frustrating to manage.

Our editorial team along with the technologists understood the problem and worked on a solution.

Creating a workflow management process with Word at its core, delivering a consistent and smooth review experience for the author and enabling multiple other benefits, from early time to market to early content finalization

Deriving the workflow

  1. Newgen reviewed multiple workflows and author feedback on earlier titles to finalize Word as a common environment that most authors are comfortable working with.
  2. Word was the consistent format of manuscript submission for most books.
  3. Copyediting review by authors was also in Word – a user-friendly environment for the authors.
  4. Newgen invested in automating the proofreading process for a considerable percentage of design templates for this publisher.
  5. Newgen also derived a Word-based indexing and tabling process to complement the overall Word-based workflow.
  6. With all the preparatory steps in place, Newgen and the publisher finalized the details of the Word-driven workflow.
  7. Newgen trialled this workflow on sample titles across all divisions, and the results indicated that this workflow will deliver the expected results with a positive author experience.

Implementation of the workflow

  1. Newgen and the publisher created a work group for workflow implementation.
  2. Newgen worked with the publisher to create a task-level documentation of the workflow.
  3. This workflow was mapped to the Project and Workflow Management System at Newgen at the task level with checklists at every critical task.
  4. The support automation in terms of auto pagination during typesetting and Word-based indexing were tested for efficiency and implemented across divisions.
  5. An awareness drive was organized for the project managers and other stakeholders at Newgen, as well as the authors, and the publisher’s staff.
  6. FAQs and other documentation were created to support the stakeholders with possible queries about this workflow.
  7. The scope of the workflow in terms of design and complexity limitations were defined.
  8. Audits to enable strict adherence to this workflow were established.
  9. Briefing documents for the copyeditor, proofreader, indexer and tabler were tweaked to suit the Word-based workflow.
  10. The team managers recognized process experts who helped the rest of the team members.
  11. The work group connected at scheduled intervals to review the process for efficiency and challenges.

Impact of the Solution

  1. Authors have seamlessly adopted the Word-based workflow, with author satisfaction staying between 87 per cent and 90 per cent consistently across all quarters in 2019–2020.
  2. The publisher is able to freeze title content creation much earlier in the workflow compared with the legacy workflow.
  3. With the Word-driven workflow, we were able to eliminate an entire round of the review process, helping us gain at least about 3 weeks in time to market.
  4. The publisher now has the power to determine the format of outputs for a given title – from print to EPUB and a gamut of online deliverables.
  5. There is a significant reduction in content errors since authors mark their corrections directly into Word files, with minimal scope for error from transcribing corrections from PDF to the application files.
  6. The Word-based indexing and tabling processes have streamlined the index and table compilation processes. This enables an easy update of page numbers in case of typesetting in the later rounds of production.

Current scenario

About 94 per cent of the books for this publisher now go through the Word-driven workflow.


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