I’ve noticed when I scan comments, either on the blog or on Facebook, many posters assume I have assistants or staff.
I have the amazing Laura, who stands as my personal publicist and Person Of All Details. You will note, when she posts or comments, she puts her name after the post or comment, so the readers know it’s Laura, not Nora. If I post or comment, I put my name on it.
I realize in the strange world of the interwebs the person signing off with NR could be a four-hundred pound bald man, sporting full-body ink under his wife-beater shirt. You only have my word that it’s not.
While Laura does much to keep me in line–ah, that is, to keep the business around the writing running as smooth as it can–she doesn’t assist in the actual writing. No one does.
An assistant would, without question, drive me insane, and I would likely murder this poor, unfortunate individual in a bloody and brutal manner without a single twinge of remorse or regret.
Keep away from me during work hours, and nobody gets hurt.
I don’t use researchers, proofers, consultants. I don’t collaborate. I would also murder a collaborator, probably five minutes into said collaboration. There are plenty of blunt objects in my office.
I don’t take ideas or suggestions on characters, storylines, story angles, settings from anyone. I do mean anyone. At all. Ever. What’s written in the book is mine. Mine, mine, mine. You might sense I’m a little bit territorial here. You would be correct.
I don’t have a staff. I have a long-time housekeeper who comes in once a week to shovel out the house. If someone was in here fussing around with stuff every day? I would make good use of those blunt objects.
I don’t play or work well with others. That’s why writing is such a good career choice for me. It’s solitary. I don’t have to see or speak to anyone for hours and hours and blissful hours every day.
While I write the books, all by myself, that’s about all I do. I send the manuscript to my editor and agent. My agent handles ALL the business stuff. All of it. She’ll meet with my editor (who is also, in this case, my publisher), and they’ll hammer out business details. My editor will edit. If she feels changes need to be made, we discuss. I’m probably going to make them because 99 times out of 100 she’s going to be right. Every writer needs an editor. Every writer.
The manuscript is copyedited by a copy editor who works for the publisher, not for me. It’s put into production. My editor has an amazing, truly amazing talent for visualizing covers. She’ll work with the in-house (the publisher’s) art department. I do not design the covers. I’m not an artist. I do have cover approval. 99 times out of 100, when I’m shown the cover proof I say: Thank you! It’s perfect. Because it almost always is.
It’s proof-read in-house, and by me, in page form. The galleys–for reviewers–are uncorrected proofs that won’t have any corrections or changes made. And still, something gets missed in the final copy. I wish it was otherwise, but it happens.
I don’t have anything to do with pricing, with scheduling, with distribution, with who reads the books on audio. (I am hugely grateful to Susan Erickson and her incredible interpretation of the In Death series.)
Again, my job is to write the books. I let everyone else involved do their job so I can do mine.
Most readers don’t understand how publishing works–why should they? The fact is, I don’t understand some of it myself. So I just write the books and let the rest happen. But this is a really, really basic outline of how it works for me. Other authors may choose to be more involved with publishing details. I’d rather just write–my choice.
A note from Laura: All I said was “don’t you think every heroine should be a Laura?” Then I noticed the blunt objects.