When one season ends and you are looking ahead to the next season, how do you prepare? What happens in the in-between? I don’t know if we spend enough time in that in-between space. Sometimes we were so ready for the last thing to end that we don’t pause to consider the implications and lessons that accompany both seasons.
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In no particular order, I am thankful for…
1. Authors—They energize me! I enjoy working with them so much. Their passion, their willingness to work hard, their ideas, their expertise, their teachability, their need for encouragement, their creativity, their ability to review my edits with grace (or at least it seems that way on my end J), their fight… They make the publishing world go ’round.
2. Writers—A little bit different than number one because these are those I would consider as unpublished—those I meet in Twitter chats or at writers’ conferences. But I am grateful to writers for how they express their view of the publishing industry. They are very open about their journey to getting published. As someone who is in publishing but never wanted to be an author, I get to see things through their eyes by reading their blogs, having one-on-ones at conferences, and chatting online. I appreciate their generosity to and support of each other. They form communities so easily. I am thankful they let me peek in from time to time.
3. Publishing houses that still receive unsolicited manuscripts—I am thankful for this because it’s an open door. It’s a chance to dream, hope, and feel that anything is possible. It’s unpretentious. No, I don’t personally like going through all the slush, but I like that writers feel that the company who still does this is approachable and welcomes their ideas. So many of life’s questions are answered with no. It’s nice to see a maybe out there every now and then.
4. e-Books—People are reading more and those who didn’t read are reading now too. What’s not to love about that? These little devices and gadgets, platforms and software are making reading fun for more people. Sure there is still so much to figure out on the licensing, royalties, and best-practices side, but consumers are eating it up. Isn’t that who we do this for?
5. Copyeditors—oh my gosh! Should I cry now or later? Maybe later. Crying at work is so unprofessional. What would publishing be without copyeditors? I have a special place in my heart toward these dear people, because I started there and I know what they have to put up with. It is amazing that, after so many times of correcting a myriad of obvious errors and repeat grammatical offenses, they don’t hold the company at gun point and yell all the rules for the in-house style guide to each of the editors. I am thankful for their diligence, consistency, sharp eye, love for detail, and most of all their grace toward us all—forced though it may be.
6. Managing/executive editors (editorial directors)—throughout my career these have been the special people who look out for me as an editor. They have my back when an author doesn’t like my edits—and even when they do. They encourage me, mentor me, promote me, expand my opportunities, and so many other countless things. They are the ones who fight for their team when we don’t even know a fight needs to be had. They are the rocks, the stabilizers; the insightful ones; the vision-casters. They brand us and tell us who we are to the rest of the company, our authors, and the industry. Thank you!
7. Copublishing—I appreciate this opportunity that some publishers offer to partner with an author and share the financial risk of breaking a new voice into the market. I know that some have argument against this, but that is not where I am coming from. It’s the intention behind it and the option made available. You have a new and growing (but small) platform, you don’t know how to market yourself, you don’t have distribution connections, you need professional editing and award-winning cover design, and you have funds to invest in yourself and your dream. Why not look into copublishing? I am glad that this option is available just as I am appreciative of self-publishing. As a singer, I appreciate the hustle behind being indie. You never have to give up with these options. You never have to give into what a publisher may say about you being unpublishable. With these options, you’re actually not. As far as salability, that’s on you. As I have said other times on this blog: do what you do well. Go all the way in!
8. Social media—where else can someone like me talk to publishing professionals from the big six in New York? Where else can writers/authors have free access to connect with publishing houses, editors, agents, and other writers all over the world? Where else can you continuously and shamelessly post plugs about who you are and what you do? Nowhere, but social networks. I am so very thankful for that. The Twitter chats, LinkedIn groups, and Facebook connections have so enhanced my industry perspective, and in just this one year I feel I have grown exponentially as a publishing professional.
9. Trailblazers, trendsetters, veterans, and legends—if it weren’t for them where would we all be. Because the future is coming at us lightning fast, it is imperative for us to remember where and who we’ve come from. Their lessons learned, their successes, their failures, their courage and bravery are all keys to how we move forward. They had to face new technology and changing markets just as we do today. It’s the cycle of life. We owe huge debts of gratitude for those who’ve gone before us.
10. Change—not spare change, not loose change, not change in my pocket or change between the couch cushions. But movement, evolution, adjusting SOPs, revamping mission statements, clearly defining one’s audience, starting a new imprint, closing down an imprint, consolidating, expanding, stepping outside the box, refocusing, out with the old and in with the new. I like change. If it’s approached correctly, it can fuel growth, and living things grow. Sometimes there are growing pains. Change is hard, but it’s necessary. You may not see the end in sight when a change begins to happen, but, boy, do you breathe easier when all is said and done. Change is not the end of anything, but the beginning of something new. Publishing is changing, but it isn’t going anywhere. And I’m going to stick around to see what comes of all this.
What about book publishing makes you feel thankful?
What about book publishing makes you feel thankful?