Guts: Where the Rubber Meets the Road
~~ by Editor Jan Fix
As impressive as any creative team may be with its credentials and experience, it is merely ordinary without a unique, bold instinct for raising the bar and a bulldog tenacity for superiority on all levels.
Today’s authors must demand this extraordinary team. Whether that’s just one professional editor or a slew of design and marketing experts, to excel beyond the flotsam of the massive increase in published works, ya gotta have guts — the guts to demand the best for your manuscript, no matter the genre.
We The People are completely immersed now in the opportunities afforded us by technology and the ability to reach out and touch the world with our song, whatever that may be. Authors in particular have discovered open doors where once were only walls. Virtually anyone can publish anything for pennies compared to days of yore.
During this process, we have quickly learned that just because we can publish, doesn’t mean we should publish. The reading public has become wise to this and longs for standards. Thankfully, authors are listening.
More authors are receptive to the idea of slowing down the process in the name of quality. They seek professionals in the areas of editing, design, and marketing, who will not only improve their book, but propel it above the great sea of ordinary prose.
As an editor, I am grateful for this trend not only for my business, but also for the reading public, of which I am a part.
However, I do realize this is easier said than done for many authors. It is hard to know what criteria to use and where to look and who to trust. The task of not only publishing a quality piece, but ensuring that it stands heads above the others — without sawing off your limbs and giving up your first-born — admittedly seems daunting in today’s vast authorship.
How can an author ensure that the creative professionals he hires actually will deliver the quality and will highlight the personality and uniqueness of his work? Does he make these choices based on experience level? Schooling? Cost? References? Certainly a combination of these would be prudent.
But the dealmaker will be the author’s innate sense that this professional he hires “gets it.” Whether an editor, cover artist, book designer, marketing superstar, or publisher, this professional will prove themselves worthy time and time again through clear and constant communication; knowledge and love of industry; trust; good humor; compassion; respect — oh, and guts! From Day One to Day End. And believe it or not, many professionals have the knowledge, but lack everything else.
Authors must demand and expect nothing less than “everything else.” They should walk into a collaboration with, say, an editor or a book designer with the unequivocal feeling that they have acquired a professional who is a perfect match for them.
Certainly, the writing roads have become muddier and the road to success involves a slippier slope than ever before. In fact, success itself will be measured in new ways that we are only beginning to embrace. The process is fluid.
The good news is there is one constant in all this — one constant that always precedes success. Money can’t buy it. But its more valuable than ever before: Guts.
Come back tomorrow to see next post for part 2 of “Guts”.