Anyone who has ever worked with me can attest that there is usually a method to my madness. As in painting, I study the composition and take in everything. Starting from the outside in, I get to know the author and their work so I can add the ‘heartbeat’ to their work. Sound strange? It isn’t but it creates an awful problem for me… authors are not patient clients.
I have heard it all and it always ends with: ‘… but I am so impatient’.
Well, think of this: it is very difficult to resurrect a disaster. Bottom line, as I repeatedly say, this is a business and authors must begin to think of it as such.
I work in phases and each one is as important as the next and each step absolutely leads to the next.
Once a contract is signed and the manuscript is handed over to me then the author, whether or not it is realized, has agreed to ‘build his business’ with me. Fickle mistakes cost money and time. Impatience causes confusion and misdirection.
I spend a great deal of time with each of my clients. My method of business is working as a team and I educate clients as we build. Do I expect them to do what I do? No, but I explain to them that they are the ‘CEO’s of their business’ and should be aware of everything that is being done and why. Again, my mantra: ‘Ignorance Is Not Bliss’ and ‘Ignorance is Costly’.
It is my job to ‘reel’ in each author I work with and try to discipline him or her to focus. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
Every client I work with is verbally explained each step thoroughly and receives a contract with each phase explained explicitly in detail. Oftentimes, I hand over ‘assignments’ to authors as I am working on a particular phase for the sake of involvement and teaming up for the next phase. As I said, there is always a method to my madness.
One client I am working with will be added to my ‘hall of famers’ of impatient authors. A first time author, I will admit he has had a few doozy setbacks but of his own making. His biggest setback has been impatience and not trusting me.
As I was typesetting the interior of his book, I had noticed a series of serious errors within his proofed text and called it to his attention. Instead of contacting his original proofer, he decided to proof the work himself, which is an absolute ‘no-no’. (Authors should never proof their own work.) Well, that didn’t work out too well and we were now behind schedule.
His next decision involved hiring a brand new proofreader, which also incurred a brand new invoice. True, the turn-around was quick but money was spent unnecessarily. Ironically, his original proofreader had mistakenly sent him an old file of edits, which could have been easily remedied with a quick phone call or e-mail at no additional cost.
Video book trailers are often part of the package I offer and are usually created after all the branding has been done. Unknowingly to me, this author had hired another firm to create his book trailer. Accepting this decision, I fairly deducted the cost of the video from his invoice.
At first, I was disappointed because I had already created enticing storyboards for this job and was getting concerned that the team behind this author was not connected. For the sake of consistency, it is my strong belief that all design and advertising should come from the same firm and this job was quickly getting out of control.
A disastrous rough video was delivered a few weeks later. Clearly, this was not art directed and was not only too long but a true sleeper. The problem now involved a useless, expensive video and another setback of time. Instinctively, I created a quick down and dirty three-minute video from nothing that at least plugged itself as a pre-pub advertisement. Out sourcing and over-budgeting himself, the author was making my job more and more difficult yet… he was ‘impatient’ to get moving….
I just received e-mail from another author who just arranged for a book signing in three weeks. Well, that is great, but the book hasn’t even been typeset yet nor has any galleys been produced. Mmm… perhaps I might add him to my ‘hall of famers’ of impatient authors as well.
The best to each of you and may your journey be enlightening, encouraging and educational!