You Are Essential

Business people applauding

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?

Your turn:

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?

23 Responses to You Are Essential

  1. Amy Boucher Pye October 17, 2013 at 3:18 am #

    Book distributors are a vital part of the process. We saw the negative impact on the trade when a few years ago in October our main book distributor in the UK, IBS-STL, put in a new IT system that went belly-up. That was the beginning of a time of crisis for the book trade here, as bookshops therefore didn’t have books for customers in the runup to Christmas. Returns, frustration, the financial crisis… it was the start of a tale of woe, I’m afraid. The major bookshop chain, Wesley-Owen, was owned by STL and eventually was sold off (and now only exists online). IBS-STL went bankrupt a few years ago, and the Christian bookselling scene in the UK is vastly different now. It’s hard to tell how different things might be if IBS-STL hadn’t been such a disproportionately big player. But it goes to show that book distributors can play a big part in the process.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray October 17, 2013 at 5:23 am #

      Amy, you are so right! You can print all the beautiful books you like, but if they never make it into the stores, those are lots of sales missed. Sounds as though I should have listed IT people, too! Thank you for taking time to help all of us remember and appreciate this important part of the publishing body.

      • Amy Boucher Pye October 17, 2013 at 7:51 am #

        IT people, bookstore frontliners, it takes a village! Makes me grateful to be part of this industry, tough though it may be. Thanks for your thoughtful post.

  2. Jackie Layton October 17, 2013 at 3:41 am #

    I have always loved this scripture. I love the freedom God gives us to focus on the part he’s designed us to do.

    I’m not a great cook, but I love to have people in my home. I love to welcome them and try to ensure they have a good time while they are with me, whether it’s fifteen minutes or days. I host a lot of big family dinners, and I usually ask everybody to bring a dish. This lessens my stress and allows me to put more focus on my guests.

    In your list, I’m the writer. If I ever get a book published, I’ll do anything asked of me by the publisher to the best of my ability. But my comfort zone will be writing.

    Thanks for sharing this today!

  3. Connie Almony October 17, 2013 at 5:30 am #

    This is one of my favorite concepts in the Bible. I love how God created us all different to perform different functions in the whole. I love it soooo much I named my blog after it :o).

    Where am I. I am a writer, encourager of other writers, critiquer of other writers and a blogger who presents other writer’s material to readers. I started out as ONLY a writer, but I’ve found the other roles just as fulfilling!!!

  4. Diane T. Ashley October 17, 2013 at 6:04 am #

    I’m a reader and a writer. I am currently reading Heaven by Randy Alcorn. A fantastic book that challenges me to think about Heaven and how it will be when we get there. Whether I agree or disagree with his concepts, Mr. Alcorn has gotten me thinking deeply about things I need to think about. I want to write fiction books that do that for the people who read them,

  5. Terrance Leon Austin October 17, 2013 at 6:06 am #

    Thanks Tamela. It’s always a great idea to align the bible with our daily task and hobbies. Where I am as a writer? Daily learning my craft and the publishing business. This morning’s post by you I consider a special tutorial for beginning writers like myself. I believe GOD has blessed me with the faith to write, but also gives me lessons on works accompanying that same faith. (learning, paying attention to good sound advice, and mostly writing without distractions. I was totally clueless of the essentials of the business until now. It’s amazing how many times you as agents represent us as writers with ever reading a proposal. After learning about self publishing and traditional, I am beginning to see the significance to going it alone vs. working as a team with literary agents. Sorry for rambling on but I am so excited that GOD has put certain people at the right places and right times to help writers reach their full potential as published life changing authors who write to impact our society for JESUS. I will continue working hard and learning the business. Thank You Again, and GOD BLESS YOU Tamela…

  6. Jeanne Takenaka October 17, 2013 at 6:43 am #

    Tamela, it’s always good to see the big picture in a how a book comes into existence. There are so many people involved in the process! Some I knew about, but some of those “behind the scenes” people, like the accounting department? Yeah, they’re pretty important. 🙂

    I’m definitely on the writer end of the process. If I had the background, I think it would be cool to be an agent or an acquisitions editor. These jobs fascinate me. 🙂

  7. Michelle October 17, 2013 at 6:55 am #

    For me, writer…Tamela, in due time, you will be my agent. (Hebrews 11:1)
    I am currently reading Embrace Grace by Liz Curtis Higgins. It’s a fabulous little book!

  8. Meghan Carver October 17, 2013 at 7:40 am #

    I’m definitely the writer, Tamela. Thanks for this encouragement, especially after Dan’s blog post about the robo-writers. 🙂

  9. Ginny Jaques October 17, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    I think you forgot one very important kind of person!! How about the reader!

    • EvaUlian (@EvaUlian) October 17, 2013 at 9:23 am #

      Ouch Ginny, the Reader is mentioned in the last paragraph- last but not least as they say.

      • Ginny Jaques October 17, 2013 at 9:56 am #

        Ouch, is right! This reader is not a very good one. My bad!!

  10. Janet Ann Collins October 17, 2013 at 8:18 am #

    Don’t forget the librarians. I normally read five or six books a week and would have to be a millionaire in a huge mansion to buy them all, but libraries make them accessible to me and millions of other readers. And if I find one I want to read again many times, or think would make a good gift for someone, I do buy it.

    • Judy Gann October 17, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

      This librarian thanks you, Janet Ann. 🙂 I view librarians as fitting Tamela’s “book buyers” category. I’m also a writer and reader.

      Great post, Tamela. It truly takes a village.

      • Janet Ann Collins October 17, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

        Thanks for all you do, Judy. The world is a better place because of you and the other librarians.

      • Tamela Hancock Murray October 18, 2013 at 9:13 am #

        Janet and Judy: My local librarians know me!

        My cousin recently earned her Masters Degree in Library Science. She works at a library in North Carolina, and she loves reading YA books. Go, Beth!

  11. Ginny Jaques October 17, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    I’m reading Soul Gate, by Jim Rubart

  12. Angela Mills October 17, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    I am a writer and reader, and I have been studying that scripture, too. I’m reading Forgotten God by Francis Chan, and he talks about the gifts of the Spirit in that. That leads me to a forgotten role: Teachers!

    I have learned so much from writer’s blogs like this one, books for writers, and classes, etc. Without writing teachers, I’d be a reader with a writing hobby 🙂 Now, I consider myself a writer!. I’m not published, and this post was a nice peek into all that happens behind the scenes. It’s exciting!

  13. Stephen Myers October 17, 2013 at 10:54 am #

    I think Will Rogers summarized it best:

    “If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple. Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing.”

    Each person is a part of the process doing the best at what they do – and I appreciate them all. My only hope is to BE one of those in the process. Now back to work at that goal.

  14. Ada Brownell October 17, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    Tamela, I would like to share the bones of this post on a panel in November at Ozarks Chapter of American Christian Writers. I would give you credit. Is that OK?

  15. Rachel Muller October 17, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

    I just loved this post, Tamela! Thank you for breaking it all down and laying it out straight. It’s fascinating to learn all the hands that have a part in making one book successful.

    In answer to your question, I think the Thoene’s do a fantastic job of pulling together all elements of their stories so the reader feels a part of the story while also learning something new from a different angle. I also give credit to Rachel Hauck for her latest novel, Once Upon A Prince. I love stories that pull me in so deep that I can’t put the book down until I reach the final page. I hope my stories will one day be as pleasing to read.

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