When a friend recently asked me what was involved in publishing, it took me a fair while to reply.
Cue long pause and me thinking…
We’re all consumers, in one way or another. When I eat my toast, I don’t think about how it got on my plate. I’ve got a vague idea about wheat being harvested, flour being milled and then voila! it’s bread and it’s in a bag and then it’s on my plate…
Rather like consumers of food, it’s not often that ‘consumers’ of books consider the book-production process.
Before I became a publisher I had no idea of what was involved in the making of a book. The writer writes, right? And then the publisher does some talking to the writer. And then the printer prints the book and voila! the book is now in my hands and I am free to criticize it endlessly, with not a thought for all the effort that has gone into its making.
Now I know. I really do truly know what goes into publishing a book because I’ve overseen every step of that process. And although I haven’t counted the number of steps involved it’s probably about a fifty-step process! (And that’s not even including all the work of the author, by the way.) There’s simply so much involved. It can (roughly) be split into: 1) book acquisition 2) editing & proofreading 3) book production i.e. typesetting, cover design, printing 4) marketing, promotion & advertising i.e. getting the book known, and 5) book selling. Number 6) is the whole business end, which includes the writing of contracts, long-term publishing plans, selling rights, finances, accounting, website maintenance. And of course there’s all that reading to be done…
Although I pretty much like all the aspects of publishing, the one thing that really excites me is this: reading a manuscript that I fall head over heels in love with. I also get pretty excited about getting just the right image for a book cover (pairing art with words is my thing!). And planning which books I’m going to publish in the coming years is also very exciting, but much more fun when you’ve got someone else to discuss it with.
So after I’d considered all the above, I finally gave an answer to my friend, and probably rather bored her with all the details!
Recently, I had to admit that I was becoming overwhelmed by the amount of ‘to-dos’ on my to-do list. I really needed someone else to be involved with Mother’s Milk Books. It was time (and this is where I get to feel very grand) that I got an Editorial Assistant.
So today, I am welcoming my new Editorial Assistant, Helen Lloyd who, as you can imagine, is passionate about breastfeeding and great literature. I am incredibly delighted to have her on board.
Over the coming months I’m going to be shining a light on all those wonderful folk involved in Mother’s Milk Books, from the incredibly important tea boy to the Editorial Assistant, as well as all the many, and varied, fabulous authors whose books I am going to publish in the coming months/years. Some of you may be familiar with them already as Mother’s Milk Books authors and some of them will be new to you. So welcome, Sarah James, Angela Topping, Ana Salote, Rebecca Smith and Alison Lock. I am super-excited to be working with you all! So if things seem quiet, in reality they’re not. I’m either busy actually doing the things on my to-do list, or conversing with Helen, or drinking tea and chatting to the lad who makes my tea.
Thanks again to all those who support Mother’s Milk Books. If it wasn’t for the readers (or should that be book consumers?!) who actually part with cash to buy our books we wouldn’t be able to keep this whole show on the road.
p.s. there is also the brilliant book of fairy tales taking shape in the background (more on that later!) and
p.p.s. I’m also running a giveaway on Facebook right now. Why not pop along to our Facebook page and enter to win some lovely (and new) greetings cards?