Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
One of the themes that crops up frequently in my conversations with writers is the romantic fantasy of the author as a loner, holed up in his/her writing cave, emerging to deliver a masterpiece to the publisher, then retreating once again to remain forever invisible while the book takes care of selling itself.
But the truth is:
Publishing is a collaborative art and business.
The world conspires to persist in the fantasy of a book as the product of a single brilliant individual. We all love this fantasy, readers included. Even those of us involved in the business of creating books can succumb to it.
It’s true that the book is primarily the product of you, the author. But in general, I’d say that most books end up to be roughly 75% the author, 25% everyone else involved in bringing the book to market.
For some authors, the percentages may be different. But even for self-published authors, collaboration is usually a crucial element in publication.
The author may spend months or years digging up that book from deep down inside, and wrestling it to the page. But when the author completes that manuscript:
→ An editor will edit it.
→ A copyeditor will copyedit.
→ A proofreader will proofread.
→ A designer will design and typeset the interior.
→ Another designer will create a cover.
→ A marketing team will create and implement a comprehensive plan for promoting your book.
→ A sales team will work with retailers, physical and online, to make your book available to consumers.
→ A printing company will print your book.
→ Bookstores will sell your book.
By the time your book arrives in the hands of a consumer, dozens of people have played an important role in getting it there. You’re the one who gets the ball rolling. You’re the most important part of this collaborative team. Without you, no one else on the team has a job.
But it’s a collaboration. Don’t get too used to the fantasy of the solo artist in a cave, toiling alone. If that’s the life you want, you probably should give up the idea of publication, and simply write for yourself, because even self-publishing requires you to come out of your cave and work with others.