Saturday, September 17, 2011

Emily Mitchell: The People in Your Neighborhood

I’d like to begin this post with a comment I heard as we were leaving this session. A voice behind me said, "I wish I'd heard this talk when I was just starting out." Emily Mitchell's session, "The People In Your Neighborhood," was a useful, insightful peek into the roles of the various individuals at a publishing house who each play a part in bringing our books to life.

We learned that the first group at the publishing house to receive a manuscript is Editorial. The first person to read it will usually be an editorial assistant or intern, and if it makes it to an editor who likes and wants to publish it, that editor will make the case for the book with Sales and Marketing at the launch meeting.

Once it has been decided that they are really interested in the book, the sponsoring editor contacts the author to discuss it. This may be the first time the author hears from the editor, even though she or he may have been interested in the book for quite some time. The editor is the author’s ally, the one who has been promoting the book internally throughout the process.

Design joins in with Editorial to choose an illustrator. Design works out the details like trim size and fonts. When the illustrations are finished and the design is all set, Production coordinates printing and tracks the shipment of the finished books.

Meanwhile, promotions are tackled by Sales & Marketing. Sales reps visit stores, schools and libraries. Marketing looks into subsidiary rights opportunities such as toys and translations for foreign countries. It’s not good to leave all the promotion to the publisher, though. You can really help promote your own book, and in many cases the publisher will help you. Consider book signings and school visits. Make sure you have a website and include links to booksellers who are selling your book. And don’t forget social media – there are numerous opportunities to promote your book in that way, even before actual publication.

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