A day@a publishing house

May 25, 2017 at 10:59 pm 8 comments


@8.15 AM: Sweta is fast hopping the office stairs to reach her desk on the second floor. “Morning, Sweta!” greeted Rajashree from the right corner workstation just as she was stepping in to her cubicle. Both of them are members of the core team assigned with the task of publishing an English language series and for the past one and half years, they have been working twelve hours a day, six days a week…. After all, there is a deadline to bring out these twenty-four high quality language textbooks which would be the flagship series for the company the coming year.

@9.30 AM: “We need to have a critical writing exercise for this unit to reinforce gender understanding and for the usage of the new vocab that is being introduced here.” Sweta was at her convincing best with her publishing head who is reluctant to go with her on this play “The Bread-Winner.” She had in fact, prepared the outline for the exercise and being a Ph.D. holder herself on Somerset Maugham’s plays, she is more than sure that “The Bread Winner” offers great scope for critical writing tasks. Saraswati, the publishing head, finds Sweta‘s point persuasive and the exercises quite innovative and puts her stamp of approval. Sweta walks out triumphantly, having won a point of view on literary merit!

@11.00 AM: The in-house illustrator, Kaustubh is spreading out his drawings on to the table and the entire editorial team has milled around him to scrutinise each one and pass judgements. This is the fifth time Kaustubh has re-drawn the entire set of eighty-four illustrations that is to feature in book –VIII and has marshalled all his skills to make each of them vibrant with life. “Great job, Kaustubh … this is what we know you are capable of” the publishing head lavished her praise as she flipped though them, one by one. Kaustubh let a sigh of relief for having at last okayed his labour of last two weeks.

@1.30 PM: The sales head calls an urgent meeting of the key editorial staff to bring to their notice the latest CBSE missive on the need to include Indian cultural lessons on English textbooks! They get into a huddle and create a taskforce to plan out the lessons to be included, book by book. The guiding principle for selection of lessons in Indian culture is prepared and circulated and in the next one hour, a grid is ready on the lessons to go in each book!! WoW!!

@3.00 PM: The digital team has prepared their presentation on the animations created based on Augmented Reality. These animated characters create a riot on the screen and dovetailed with the textbooks, they are a great visual aid to the learning process. Each animation is supported with crispy voiceovers and the unique combination of text, sound and visuals gives every child a 360° learning experience that is just hard to replicate. Kudos, the digital team, this is one of its kind, a sure winner, a game changer and the approval for it is instant… the extended round of applause is definitely an indicator.

@5.00 PM: The editorial team has assembled at the first floor to review the progress on the project and there is a palpable tension in the air. The books have to go to press in about three weeks and there are many a loose ends still to be tied. The teacher App support, for which Sharmila is the head, is garbling with technical issues and it is decided to dedicate a full time App developer for the project. The manuscripts for books five and seven are still being fine-tuned and an urgent telecon with the authors is fixed for tomorrow morning. The In-Design pagination team is waiting for the final sets of illustrations and the four cover designs that are short-listed need to be finalised by next Monday. Shoba is assigned with job of coordinating these tasks and ensure compliance by Friday next!

@7.30 PM: A tired Sweta walks into Suchi’s cubicle who is finalising the activity sheets for Book IV. “We are putting everything into these materials so that the children get the best but what if….” Her eyes fell on the worn out NCERT books that is staked on the left side of the table. She lazily picked up one of them and flipped it through and just could not contain her anguish at the sheer variance in the quality of the books she is currently working on and the one she is now looking at.“ This is not done. Hope our labour of love does not go down the drain and in the garb of low-priced books, our children are not denied quality textbooks.” The pain and desperation in her voice is hardly to be missed.
“We will continue to do our good work Sweta, and any number of circulars expounding the merits of these books is no substitute to quality learning materials.” Sweta couldn’t agree more.

Claimer: Characters in the piece are inspired by hardworking publishing professionals and any resemblance to any one in real life is definitely not a coincidence!
Yours
Narayanan

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Entry filed under: Literary.

Telephone-Then and Now

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anonymous  |  May 26, 2017 at 7:49 am

    Nice. Best Wishes Narayan

    Reply
  • 2. Subramaniam Narayanasamy  |  May 26, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Excellent piece on working day in publishing industry by Narayanan.
    All his blogs are worth reading.

    Reply
  • 3. Subramaniam Narayanasamy  |  May 26, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Excellent- keep it up!

    Reply
  • 4. Subramaniam Narayanasamy  |  May 26, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Snap shot in a working day in publishing industry is too good.
    All blogs by Narayanan are worth reading.

    Reply
  • 5. Anonymous  |  May 29, 2017 at 10:16 am

    This is what keeps us going, Narayan, first the passion, then the unwavering hope!

    Reply
  • 6. Rohini Bhat  |  May 29, 2017 at 10:19 am

    This is what keeps us going, Narayan, the passion, the determination and the unwavering hope!

    Reply
  • 7. Anonymous  |  June 1, 2017 at 11:02 am

    A well written blog. Brings out the collective angst of a publishing house! Especially in the backdrop of the current atmospherics..

    I loved the “Claimer” !

    Reply
  • 8. Anonymous  |  June 20, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Bravo!!! Narayanan, your blog truly captures the anguish and irony, publishing houses are mired in these days..

    Reply

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