by Tamela Hancock Murray
On Sunday our pastor’s sermon was on 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. Although in this passage, St. Paul writes about how each person is a special part of the body of Christ, with a comparison to how all the parts of the human body work together, I couldn’t help but think of how essential we all are to the publishing process:
Writers: Without authors’ creativity and courage, no one would have a book to publish or to read.
Agents: Yes, it is possible to be published without an agent. But because of the nature of publishing, few have the broad range of contacts and experience that an agent has to understand the nuances of the marketplace, each individual publishing house, the complex nature of contracts, the intricacies of the editorial process, and where each writer’s work will best fit.
Acquisitions Editors: From the many submissions editors receive, they are responsible for deciding which books are best suited for their houses to bring to the reading public.
Sales and Marketing Teams: They agree early in the process that they can sell an author’s book, and will present it it to book buyers. The marketing team works on getting the word out about the book.
Contracts and Legal Department: Along with your agent, these people issue the agreement authors will work under. Without them, there would be no written agreement as to payment, deadlines, and other critical aspects of the process.
Rights Management: These are the ones who handle foreign rights sales and the requests for permission to quote existing books.
Accounting: Would you like to be paid advances and royalties, and on time? See them.
Content Editors: These are the people who encourage an author to write at the peak of her ability by complimenting the good and challenging the weak portions of a book.
Copy Editors: They keep books as error-free as possible so they are a pleasure to read.
Designers: Their creativity in creating a great book cover can make the difference between a reader picking up a book (or clicking the image on the Internet) or ignoring it. They are also responsible for the ads that are used both online and in print publications. In addition the designers can have impact on the interior design of a book (typeface, chapter layout, etc.)
Production Management: They are in charge of the details that can take a book from appearing cheap, sloppy, and cheesy to one that is a joy to read, own, and keep. They oversee the manufacturing process.
Book buyers: These are the gatekeepers. They decide which books they think their customers will purchase. Without them, the reader will never see your book.
Readers: Without readers, we have no one to read our books. Besides, most of the people on this list started out as readers. What book are you reading now?
Where are you in this picture?
Which job do you think sounds the most fun and appealing?
Which essential people did I leave out?
Can you think of a recent book where you thought all of the elements were exceptionally well done? Did you buy a copy of this book and keep it?