The Business of Relationships
HOW AUTHORS, AGENTS, EDITORS, BOOKSELLERS, AND PUBLICISTS WORK TOGETHER TO REACH READERS
How authors, agents, editors, booksellers, and publicists work together to reach readers.
It is often said that book publishing is a business of relationships. Behind every successful title there is a small crowd of people who, over the course of many months and even years, worked together— via e-mail and in person, on the phone and over lunch—to turn an idea into a vision, edits into finished pages, a manuscript into a book. A work of art conceived and created in solitude is carried forth by a team, passing through many hands before it reaches the marketplace.
I asked five debut authors to describe their first steps toward establishing the initial relationship, the one that starts the whole process rolling: finding an agent. I then asked those five agents to explain how the relationships with their clients grew and how they introduced their clients to the ideal editors who would shepherd their books into print. Next, I contacted those editors and invited them to walk us through the acquisition and editorial process that turns the raw material into finished products. And finally I spoke with five indie booksellers who convey the enthusiasm, the passion, and the purpose of author, agent, and editor in their efforts to place the books in the hands of their intended readers. Along the way I was introduced to marketing directors, publicity managers, events directors, sales reps, and other agents, editors, and authors who aided in forging connections that proved crucial in the process. The result is a series of illustrations offering a glimpse at how the book business operates on the strength of personal and professional bonds among dedicated people working toward the twin goals of creative expression and smart business.