Let’s face it, the publishing process doesn’t necessarily move at the speed we all prefer. From the generally long amount of time it takes to write a book, find an agent and/or editor, the preparation before the book is published, and the day it’s FINALLY published – every single writer gets a little antsy about the incredibly slow pace. It’s hard enough to allow a person to read one’s written work, even harder to leave it in another person’s willing & capable hands, while sitting back patiently to allow the necessary work to get completed.
I find in order to do my job efficiently (and effectively) certain things have to be accepted.
1.) I cannot (and will not) write my authors’ books. The world should appreciate that, I’m not a person who has any desire to write a book and one who lacks that special talent to turn words into 200+ pages of engaging text.
2.) I cannot (and will not) give a strict writing schedule to my authors. If I like their book ideas enough, and we seem to work well together, I’m going to simply give very basic deadlines (as to when things need to be done) and input (on their projects). I will not oversee how those deadlines will be met on their ends, as I have enough work to do.
3.) I will plan to run with a project when it’s strategically smart. I believe most of us agents like to come up with a tentative plan, when to execute it, and how it will be executed. The process in how this is completed should be left in our hands, barring any life altering/crazy circumstances that would prevent us from being able to do our jobs effectively.
4.) I always try to be fully aware of the others’ who make this publishing process work (and function) accordingly. They too have deadlines and other work-related tasks to juggle too.
So let’s look at the various roles, to which I know I’m probably missing some of folks – I promise it’s not intentional. My goal is to keep this basic — here are the main roles to remember (during the publishing process):
The Writer – Known as the Author. That would more than likely be the person reading this post. You are the creative element, the person with a love for words. The one who wants to put them into a certain order, so that your story can be told.
The Editor – The special person who makes sure those words are ready for publication. Also the person who works actively with the Sales Department in making sure the book reaches readers; ultimately a newer, busier role in today’s industry. In summary, a good working relationship with one’s editor is absolutely essential.
The Literary Agent – The author’s advocate. The person who brings the responsibility of connecting an author’s work with the Editors. The person who must also be an entrepreneur at heart, and equally fearless in championing his/her authors’ works. Once the Author’s book is ready, the Author must hand off that work and allow the Agent to do his/her job. There’s more I can list here, but for the moment I’m trying to keep this simple.
The Publisher – The place where the Editor works. The place that the Literary Agent approaches. The place that has the final say on IF it will publish a Book, and more. Once again, many responsibilities fall on this player in the process of getting published.
Other important folks worth mentioning – the Sales and Marketing Departments, Contracts Departments, Co-Writers, Ghostwriters, Production Editors (Print and/or Digital), the Interns (usually unpaid or minimally paid), the Book Distributors, the Book Reviewers (Print and/or Online) the Book Store Buyers, the Book Sellers and more.
The big reminder is that each of these folks brings an important job to the table. If any of these people try to do another person’s job, the process can easily come to a halt, or slow down considerably. Ultimately as an Agent, I find that keeping in touch with the folks (I work with) in publishing is absolutely necessary. Yet I would never try to do their jobs, as they wouldn’t want to do mine more than likely.
For Writers, this means that once you do decide to get published, these are some of things that need to be remembered. Ultimately focusing on one’s writing, in addition to one’s writing platform is going to be much more productive than attempting to participate in the other roles. The one entity that will most benefit from that attention is your Book. And your Book will appreciate it.