Production editors need to track the status of figures in their publications: what’s needed, where it’s coming from, when it’s received, etc. Where there are smaller or one-editor teams—more and more common as the publishing process both compresses in steps and spreads everywhere—the development or copyeditor may do this task.
Figures (also called visuals) can include
- word art
In an earlier post, we talked about the figures manuscript. That’s a file containing descriptions of all the figures in a manuscript and either samples of the figures or the actual figures themselves.
The figures log is a companion spreadsheet that helps keep track of the status of all visuals. These are the essential elements:
- name, author, and date of publication
- figure ID code for placement & tracking
- description of content
- style (tech art, photo, illustration, etc.)
- size, absolute or relative to the page
- status (ordered, received, etc.)
The log may also contain details about the publication that the photo researcher will need to secure permission for the figures: production run and distribution, and the context for the figure. For example, 150 printed annual reports distributed within the corporation, illustrating the geographic landscape. Or 10,000 impressions on an international blog, showing an example of whatever it in use. The log could also contain details of the rights that were negotiated and any terms agreed to (such as what the credit statement should say). Those details would appear in the contracts, but they’re helpful in a tracking log too.
Editing is about clear communication, and figures communicate great amounts. Working with figures is a way for an editor to make herself more valuable. It is also part of the Professional Editorial Standards put out by Editors Canada.
You can learn more about editing visual components in our Master Class. Sign up soon: Registration closes February 14, 2018, at 1 pm ET.