Ooligan’s Archive: The Hidden Final Step of Publishing a Book

Publication day has finally arrived. Our project teams, managers, and department leads have spent the last twelve to twenty-four months shepherding your book through all the critical processes necessary to turn a manuscript into the product readers pick up off the shelf. The book has been edited, proofread, designed, marketed, posted about on social media, and submitted for awards. Onto the next project, right?

Not quite.

Welcome to the hidden final step of publishing a book: the archive! If you’re an author, you can probably relate to the feeling of having forty slightly different drafts of the same manuscript on your computer, all with the promise of ‘final final FINAL’ version tacked onto the end of the file name. It’s no different here at Ooligan. In fact, we have an entire shared drive full of a book project’s various components in all their original, edited, proofread, edited again, and finally finished forms. In 2022, a few brave Ooligan students worked closely with our publisher to formalize the process of preserving files in a way that was organized and easy to browse. This led to the archive checklist, a way to ensure we had all the materials we needed to keep a book project accessible after publication.

Ideally, archiving takes place within a month of publication so that all the project team members are still around to furnish the necessary documents. This is more important nowadays than ever before because of policies Google enforces for file storage. If a student graduates and lets their account go inactive, Google will begin to delete content from accounts that have been inactive for two years. For Ooligan, the consequence can be losing years of institutional knowledge and project materials.

To get a sense of the enormity of Ooligan’s archival process, let’s take a peek at how we go about archiving the design files. These materials are the most difficult to replace and often the first files we try to collect. A book has much more than just the cover and text files. There’s the files we send to the printer, the files we upload for print on demand, and the files for the advance reader copies. The front cover alone is saved in several different formats: print-optimized, web-optimized, and two different high-resolution versions. The same can be said of the full jacket files. We also have to consider any images or assets that went into the creation of the cover or interior. For example, the font on the cover of Love, Dance & Egg Rolls was created by the designer, so we archived the font files with the cover files. When the design portion of the archive is populated, you end up with something like twenty different files in three different folders. And of course, you need the original packaged file in case you need to make any changes, from correcting typos in the text to adding a blurb or award information to the front cover.

The other reason it’s important to start with design files is to get them out of the design drive, which is often stuffed to capacity because design files are so large. Our design managers are constantly fighting to stretch that 1 percent of available megabytes left in their drive before Google’s threats win out and we aren’t able to create or save new files at all.

When I took over as the Operations Publisher’s Assistant, I had no idea how much time I would spend acting as a detective, tracking down missing files. It’s at times tedious and overwhelming, but a necessary part of our process. Archiving as a practice preserves and honors the hard work we put into publishing books at Ooligan. It allows us to stay connected with our history, our challenges, and our triumphs. But it also guides how we move forward, serving as a foundation for us to continually investigate and improve our processes.

photo of a full bookshelf, white arc band with text "Inside Ooligan Press", white square with Ooligan fishhook logo, white bar across bottom with text "Good Golly, a Galley!"

Good Golly, A Galley!

Prior to starting at Ooligan Press, the term “galley” applied to art and boats. I’ve since learned what a galley is and its importance in the book publishing industry.

A galley is an unfinalized advanced reader copy of a book that, unlike the final product, typically uses the manuscript prior to the final proofread. Before the galley is produced, the manuscript goes through developmental edits and copyedits to the point of practically perfect. Occasionally, the galley is made using the final draft but never by using any draft before the second to last. Galleys can be in hard copy or electronic form, which may make you wonder: Why even make a galley?

To build an audience! Galleys are sent to book bloggers, reviewers, and even authors in hopes that presale reviews will come in and blurbs will be obtained. Authors are given a portion of the galley proofs and encouraged to distribute them at events and to their fans! Giving away free books, even unfinalized copies, seems counterintuitive, but it’s how to build an audience and create excitement around the book!

Now that you know the what and why behind a galley, we can move on to the how. Once the manuscript is edited to almost perfect it is time to start on the galley. Ooligan Press uses Adobe InDesign to create their galleys, so we will be using InDesign processes to go over the steps.

  1. Open InDesign and create the layout for your galley (remember to have an even number of pages).
  2. Save your work here (continue to do so throughout the process)!
  3. Start creating paragraph types for the title, author, dedication, body, body without indent, chapters, glyphs, and folios.
  4. Create a new parent page (for the front matter), apply it to the first three pages, add folios to the bottom of the page for page numbers and the title/author’s name.
  5. Drop the manuscript into the InDesign document.
  6. Remove the trailing white spaces, multiple return to single return, multiple space to single space, and tabs from the text.
  7. Apply your paragraph styles to the operative places (ex: body paragraph to every paragraph but the first one after a chapter or section break.
  8. Remove folios from any page that starts a chapter. You can do this by applying the “none” parent page.
  9. Go through the manuscript and apply any italics to the text in InDesign, create a character style for each paragraph style this step changes.
  10. Play around with the paragraph styles you created until you’re happy with the overall look (be aware that the some fonts are protected and that you can download fonts from Adobe).
  11. Play around with the margins to fit the ideal amount of lines per page, but keep in mind the binding used and how people hold books.
  12. Confirm that every page has at least five lines, if there is a page with less than five lines change the tracking of a large section of text prior to those lines but do not go over roughly twenty lines.

The above list clearly applies to people with at least some knowledge of how to use InDesign. These are also just the basic steps. Creating a galley seems straightforward but, as the old adage goes, the devil is in the details. In this case the fun is there too! Finding the best fonts for the title, body, and folios, making sure you find fonts that look good together and match the theme of the manuscript, and finding glyphs for the folio, chapter, or section breaks that are unique and relate to the story are the things that make a galley unique and special.

References for galleys and their purposes can be found on Scribe Media and Career Authors.