“In essence, that’s what we all are, I think, publishers, authors, and booksellers: partners in the quest to find and engage readers. It’s a difficult task, but as long as I keep the attitude that we’re in it together, it’s easier to deal with the vicissitudes of being an author,” writes accomplished author Lisa Tucker in her Publishing Perspectives blog post about the arc of a writer’s career.
“Recognizing that you’re part of a business doesn’t mean you’re a sell-out or anti-art.” Thank you, Lisa. That sums it up well. Whenever a potential author comes to me for advice, I first ask them about their motives in publishing. And they almost NEVER say “I want to make money.” No, they all have valuable stories to tell and wisdoms to impart. But I know that later, suddenly there will be a lot of finger pointing about others in the publishing, printing, sales, marketing and distribution processes who are making too much money or not pulling their weight. I try to give authors an understanding of the business, end to end, and the role they can play in helping this long list of co-workers on their project.
I think we all need to have compassion for our partners in the value chain. Let’s face it: the margins are miniscule. For everybody. Very few are making it rich. All could have, in all likelihood, done better in a different business. Publishing is a labour of love in so many ways.
And she quotes Wordsworth aptly: “What we have loved, others will love, and we will teach them how.”