Presenter Colleen Cunningham of F+W Media discussed her company’s experience investing in a content management system (CMS). She explained how in the new workflow, editors marked up finalized manuscripts with XML tags to describe the content since editors know the content best. XML is a format-agnostic tool that keeps elastic assets and is great for storage, repurposing, and future-proofing. Once manuscripts are imported into the CMS, all further edits are completed here, in a central location, instead of separately in print and digital products. The CMS can simultaneously export to InDesign for print, EPUB for ebooks, and HTML for websites. When exported to one of these options, the XML tags run through a filter and automatically sync up with the paragraph styles and character styles (InDesign) or CSS (EPUB and HTML) already set up in a template. This was especially beneficial for long-running series with consistent, templated styles.
Colleen impressed the importance of using CMS with the correct types of books: those containing content that is easily repurposed and leveraged, such as cookbooks, whose recipes could be regrouped into new books (ex: Quickly publish a cookbook on a new fad diet by searching the CMS for recipes that match the diet). In F+W’s experience, once the CMS was set up and people were trained, it saved lots of time and allowed designers and production to focus more on 4-color craft books and other high-selling titles that need extra design attention.
An audio recording and the slides from Colleen’s presentation are available to members in Member Resources. Thanks to everyone for a great event!