Publishing As a Team Sport

Are you ready to be part of a publishing team?
Photo by Jopwell on

Yesterday I got comments back from my editor at Red Line and found myself nodding as I read through everything. Then the post that I wrote for Tuesday popped into my head.

Scattered comments from a group of people are frustrating. But publishing is definitely a team sport. As anyone knows who watches sports, being part of a team can sometimes seem like a bad thing. Where is she going with the ball? Did he just pass it to the other team on purpose? How did it end up out of bounds?

Who do you blame? The number of people isn’t always the problem. I know this because I never work with only one person at Red Line.

When I write a book for Red Line, I am generally working with my immediate editor and the managing editor. Sometimes the series editor gets involved. So there are at least two editors. Just to make things interesting, they often pull in a content consultant. This person has expertise in the topic area and reviews the manuscript to double check factual accuracy. They don’t just look at the simple, picky facts. They also look at the big picture. At the late stage that this person gets involved, it can be irritating to have to add information, but content consultants often have access to material that has not yet been published.

Personally, I don’t think that the number of people is the problem. It is whether or not there is a clear vision for the project. With a clear vision, one editor is as easy to work with as three. Without a clear vision, one person can contradict themself from one chapter to the next.

Publishing is most definitely a team sport. Everyone wants to produce the best possible book for readers. With a clear vision, everyone is working toward that aim.

Without a clear vision, it is just as likely that every single person on the team will be frustrated. Try to clarify what is going on before beginning that revision. It will make your job that much easier.

With a clear vision, I find myself nodding along as I read the comments even if there are six or eight comments on one page. Why? Because I see that I am being asked to clarify wording, strengthen a point, or anchor the chapter in the larger experience. It all makes sense because I can see where we are going.