Business-based Tips for Start-ups: Part 2, Professional Perspective

April 2009
by Maggie Calonico

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Business-based Tips for Start-ups: Part 2, Professional Perspective

by Maggie Calonico

Anyone who’s acted as both the writer and the publisher of a book knows these are two different people with different sets of skills. The writer enjoys writing for hours, immersed in the characters, the structure, and the story. Fifteen hours may go by before the writer realizes that the lights aren’t on or that dinner is still in the freezer. The publisher has to think about financing, marketing, distribution, and interdependent deadlines. (We won’t get into how the writer may like solitude and peace and quiet, whereas the publisher will be negotiating extensively with different people nearly every day.)

It’s best to keep these two personalities separate so you can approach the business side of publishing with greater objectivity and professionalism.

For instance, it’s obviously important to know how others perceive your book, the product you’re trying to sell. But writers, myself included, are often instinctively defensive. Remembering to function as a publisher means listening with an open mind to your editors, your copyeditors, your trading partners, and your readers. If their comments seem off the mark, try to understand what’s behind the comment—what are they responding or reacting to?

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