Saturday, November 14, 2009

Publishing--A Team Effort

I'll be the first to tell you that writing is a team effort. I do most of my brainstorming and basic planning alone (although at different stages I sometimes bounce ideas around with the husband or brother or a friend). And the first stage of writing the novel is a bit solitary, but other than that there are many people who contribute to the success of any one of my stories.

Lemme list 'em out quickly:

1.) Brainstorming Buddies (they know the most important rule--nothing said in a brainstorming session is bad)
2.) APs (accountability partners--your cheerleaders as you write that dirty draft or fast draft)
3.) CPs (critique partners--they must remember that they are to be constructive in their criticism--we're building characters and worlds here, not smashing tender egos)
4.) Agent (ideally this person also reads at least most of each ms and gives input--since your success with your editor is a direct reflection on their reputation as well as yours)
5.) Beta Readers (this is your test audience; they tell you if it seems to work--if they relate to your characters and if they laugh, cry or panic when you want them to in the story; these can cross over with APs, CPs and your agent, too)
6.) Agent (again? again. the agent shops the ms around, brokers a deal and hopefully can deal with contracts)
7.) Publishing lawyer (in case your agent isn't big on legal speak, here's someone else to scope out your contract and give advice)
8.) Editor (this person reads you ms, gives you revision notes, line edits and helps in SO many ways)
9.) Publisher (the guy who signs your contract and makes sure everything comes together)
10.) Copyeditor (the person who pores over your ms, builds a handy-dandy character and location "Bible" and questions your grammatical choices and other things other people may have overlooked)
11.) Cover Artist (they make your book look good and may listen to your input)
12.) Publicity (the folks who let you know people want to interview you and sometimes call to arrange those interviews)
13.) Subrights Department (these folks handle foreign rights, movie/tv rights and merchandising rights)
14.) Marketing (they help figure out how to sell and advertise your book and are usually excited to hear your ideas and efforts--because you're a team!)
15.) Booksellers (these are the folks on your frontline--ordering, recommending and selling your book)
16.) Book bloggers and reviewers (these folks give their two cents about what you've created and can really boost your sales)

And frankly, I've probably missed listing at least another five people along your path to publication. Your family and friends are (of course) a key component to your success.

So what's the point of all this? Simple. As an author you will have to work with a multitude of people. If you don't LIKE people, you should not try and be an author. If you can't work with a team--get out. You'll probably be connecting with twenty people (easily) during the process. You all need to respect each other and work together.

Keep in mind that publishing is a team effort. Ask yourself: Am I a team player?



Deborah Blake said...

Hey--I'm #1, #2, #3 and #5!

_Decode_ said...

I have at least two of those things and my family behind my series right now. I am terrified to bits of the agent process, and am glad at the moment that I am not there yet.

Shannon Delany said...

Yep, Deb, for different folks it's great to play different parts.

_Decode_ The agent part is only another step in the overall process. You're already headed in the right direction by continuing to write and hone your work. Enjoy the support of your family--some people never get that and it can make a HUGE difference in your attitude and success! :-)

I'm very fortunate to have my DH to brainstorm with--it's so important to know you have someone who listens to your ideas and can talk stuff out.

Sheila Deeth said...

Wow. Quite a team.

Shannon Delany said...


You're right! The real team behind each book is a huge thing (and many people get forgotten when we just praise the author for their book). I try and keep in mind that though my words are a big piece of the picture, they wouldn't make nearly as powerful a package without everyone else's participation. :-)