• Maggie McReynolds

Why Authors Don't Go It Alone

Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon, but hardly the only guy on the mission. r In addition to astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins, NASA estimated that it had taken more than 400,000 engineers, scientists, and technicians to put that one man on the moon.

So why are you trying to write and publish a book - for many of us as significant an achievement as walking on the moon - by yourself? When you work with a mainstream publishing house, you have a team all working together to help make your book a reality. Here's a partial list:

* acquisitions editor * contract department (legal) * substantive editor * copy editor * proofreader * managing editor * production manager * ISBN agency * typesetter * cover designer * art director * interior layout designer * copy writer (back cover and catalog) * printer (a full team involved at the printer) * warehouse team * copyright office * accounting * SEO manager (digital strategies) * metadata data entry (double check all the details)

You can undertake some of this yourself. When you self-publish, you are your own marketing and sales team. When you use print-on-demand, they take care of warehousing, printing, and distribution.

But what about the rest of it?

Many writers think some version of, "I'll knock out the first draft, then I'l hire an editor to clean it up."

As one of those editors, let me tell you that it's exponentially easier to work with someone before you start writing a single word. Getting clear on your message, your intended outcomes, your reader, how to write to him/her, and how to structure your book makes all the difference in the world between a rough draft that essentially needs to be taken completely apart and put back together differently and a rough draft that's a strong foundation for the iterations that will follow it. It means a far better book too.

Listen, you're smart. You can learn how to do anything. But just because you've driven a car for decades and understand its general principles doesn't mean it's a great idea for you to work on it alone. And the time it would take you to learn how is, for most of us, silly and prohibitive. You hire an expert to work on your vehicle so that you can get to where you want to go.

Whether your destination is the corner grocery, the surface of the moon, or the bestseller list, you deserve the support of people who know how to get you there.

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