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Writing, Editing, and Publishing Indigenous Stories

Acquisitions Editors

Book Acquisitions Editors review book proposals and manuscripts to decide whether books should be published. Commissioning Editors review article proposals or work with writers to create specific content. 


Editors review and edit drafts and oversee the publication process, working closely with authors to perfect the manuscript. They cut out nonessential portions of the book, ensure that grammar is on point, and refine each chapter. For more information about editors, or if you are interested in editing, contact

Copy Editors

A Copy Editor is responsible for an initial round of editing to ensure that written text is concise, consistent, and both grammatically and factually correct. They make certain that each sentence is easy to read and that concepts expressed are in a logical, sequential manner.  It is a key part of an editorial team that can include: writers, editors, proofreaders, and fact-checkers. The job frequently requires working under intense deadlines without compromising standards.

Production Editors

Production Editors communicate with writers, editors, clients, and vendors to ensure the publication meets quality standards and deadlines. They manage publishing schedules and deadlines. They often negotiate contracts with freelance writers and editors. Production editors also proofread and edit content and offer feedback to writers and other editors.

Proof Readers

Proof Readers ensure content is free of typographical, grammatical, spelling, punctuation, syntax, formatting, and other errors.


The role of an illustrator is to bring your book to life visually. This is crucial for children's books and graphic novels. Hiring an Indigenous artist can bring a unique perspective to the illustrations and helps to build the Indigenous art community.

Note: Most publishers will want to select the illustrator, or work with specific illustrators. It is best to work with a publisher first, then determine who will illustrate the book, than come with an illustrated manuscript. 


Cartographers are mapmakers. They gather, evaluate, and visualize geographic information and analyze geographical data to create charts and reports. They combine creativity with technical aptitude to produce topological maps, aeronautical charts, natural resource maps, or nautical charts and other hydrographic maps. In addition, they may work on demographic maps such as population characteristics, economic maps such as land use, or social maps such as crime rates and poverty.


Indexers review documents and create indexes so people can find information on a given topic quickly and easily. They work with a variety of resources including books, periodicals, manuscripts, and literature. 


In general, the function of the Sales/Marketing Department in a publishing house is to get your book in front of bookstore buyers, book and library wholesalers, and other channels, to make sure your book is available and (ideally) displayed and promoted through them to consumers. They also oversee consumer promotion via advertising, social media, and publicity. 

Sales Reps

Publishing Sales Representatives work for publishing companies selling books to wholesalers, bookstores, schools, libraries, and businesses. Sales reps also work with bookstores to promote titles to customers.


Book distributors are specialized warehouses that get books to customers, tracking inventory, sales, and returns. Some offer marketing services as well.


The role of an Indigenous translator is to provide correct translation of Indigenous text to another language and vice versa.

Look for a translator from your own community or a local community member. This supports community resiliency and language revitalization efforts. When using a translator, there can be regional differences in dialect, so do your research.

Who Might Be Working With You?

It takes a village to make a book!

Here is a small sample of some of the roles within the publishing industry.