A Question I Shouldn’t Answer

Last week, a close friend asked me a dangerous question:

Do you think having former authors at the helm makes you better or worse as a publisher?

The answer is… Yes.

Having former authors at the helm makes us better at some things, and worse at others.

We’re better — or at least more compassionate — about things like information sharing, editorial decisions, rejections (we are the crushers of dreams) and coping with the ups and downs of building a readership.

We’re worse — or at least less tolerant of — bad self-editing, diva behavior, and the failure to understand authorship is a job, not a hobby.

What keeps us awake at night is all those things we’re compassionate about don’t necessarily make us better publishers. This is business, after all, and the more time we spend making life easy for our authors leaves us less time to make life easier for our customers.

On the other hand, the things we’re less tolerant of keep the customer’s needs and business aspect at the forefront where they belong.

Does it balance out? I don’t know. But it was a good question, even if dangerous, because it sure got me thinking.

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One Response

  1. Emma, I couldn’t have answered this better. You are exactly right. Being a former author gives us strengths and weaknesses, and as we move along in this business, we will see if it does, indeed, balance out.

    So far, thankfully, we’re doing pretty darn good! Our blood and sweat is absolutely showing in the quality of our house.

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