Saturday, 12 December 2009

The Publishing Life Cycle

I've had a go at modelling the publishing life cycle, as far as I understand it. This is to help me comprehend the processes involved for several reasons:

  • I'm assisting a friend to develop a writing projects database.
  • I'm also considering developing some software relating to writing, so I need to understand how it might fit in with the business.
  • I'm generally curious and want to de-mystify some of the concepts that authors, agents, editors and publishers use.
  • My understanding of publishing is very limited, so I'm calling on all you writers out there to compare notes.

So here's what I've come up with (see the diagram below). For those of you who are unfamiliar with UML state diagrams, the yellow ovals are states - phases, if you like - that a piece of work such as a novel or a magazine story can be in. When an item is in a state, there is often still work being done on it, but it's general disposition is well-established. Between the states, are transitions, shown as arrows with names in brackets. Transitions are how to get from one state to another.

Publishing life cycle diagram.

Here are some more detailed descriptions of the states and transitions.

What do you think of this? Based on your experiences, does this seem correct? Have I missed anything out? I'm aware that the model doesn't yet incorporate the self-publishing routes.

Here are a few "translation" examples I've put together.

Phrase Translation into "Life cycle speak"
I'm working on my first draft. The work is in the creation state.
I'm doing my first edit/rewrite. The work is in the refinement state.
My agent has asked me to change chapter six into the third-person viewpoint. A revise transition is imminent.
I have to write the dreaded synopsis. The work is in the submission state. That is, unless you're really keen and are writing the synopsis early as part of the creation or refinement phases.

Don't worry, this is not going to be another half-baked and aborted series of "how-to" articles. I wouldn't presume to preach what I don't practise. I'd rather hear your feedback.


Debs said...

I like the look of this and it all seems fine to me.

CC Devine said...

Crikey, this looks very impressive. I'll be interested the end result.

Currently I'm at the creation stage!

Lane said...

Gosh you're clever. And I love to see it broken down like that.

I can't add anything constructive I'm afraid because I haven't made it past the creative phase yet.

ps software development of this type sounds just your thing

Anonymous said...

Debs: Thanks, that's good to know.

CC: I never got much past the creation stage, save for one subbed short story. I had some feedback from Graeme (via facebook - thanks Graeme, if you're reading this) so I'll probably be updating the diagram in the new year.

Lane: The software probably won't go very far, as the market is almost non-existent. It might just end up being a freeware project and therefore very slow to develop.