Fifty weeks after the second day of the new year
As the end of the first year of this blog approaches, Author wants to talk not about writers or their work, nor about her books or yours, but about the people we all work with along the way and those who stand beside us as we walk toward our goal.
In the Author & Sister team, Author writes and Sister is the ManaSis and publicist. You know this. By now you know the sisters enough to know how they work. You also see both of them: you see Author’s writing, and not only do you see the products of Sister’s work, her side in the publication activities, you also see her speak on their social media about their work and their life. So you know that Author is not in this alone. Author is half of the Author & Sister team—she is the writer in the equation, the one behind the books, the blog, the words. And Sister is half of the Author & Sister team—she is the one who brings the words to the readers in varied ways, who makes them visible, without her the names Author & Sister, A. Claire Everward, Kate A. Everward, The First, Oracle’s Hunt, and all the names to come would not be known.
They each do what they are good at. You could argue that Author could learn to do what Sister does, but you would be wrong. Writing is what Author knows how to do, a writer is who she is. She can’t do what Sister does, nor would she want to. She has no feel for it, has no idea what step to take next. She is repeatedly awed by Sister’s ideas, her implementation of them, the way she maneuvers in the ManaSis-publicist realm, the way she is surefootedly mastering it. Sister seems to instinctively know what to do next, which path to avoid and which to take in every fork in the road, when to go back and try a different way just to see what might be better there. That doesn’t simply take learning, there’s a natural, inherent aptitude in that.
And with everything that Author and Sister do, they know when there’s something they shouldn’t do themselves, they each know what elements of their work would best be served if they are done by others who are better positioned to do them, such as an editor or a cover designer or the company printing the books, and they each know when to ask questions of those who have greater experience, such as on how to correct an error in an ebook format or how to best create a book ad. That’s important. While you should be involved in all aspects of your work, you should know when it’s time to rely on someone on the outside.
We are not able to learn everything. Yes, Author has spoken about how important it is for you to do certain more technical steps in your work on your book yourself, but that was about work that requires your involvement as the writer and that teaches you important lessons about the publication process, in a way that could influence your work process in later books. What Author is talking about here is different: she is talking about the inherent skills or talents every person has for certain work, certain professions, and about the need to recognize where your abilities are enough and when they aren’t. For you, writing is what you’re a natural at, it’s the skill that comes easily to you or that you can easily learn. There are other things you could learn, skills you might even master, but only with substantially more effort than writing and over a significant amount of time. But there are some skills you will not be able to master, skills that others are naturally inclined toward and you’re not, that they will do better than you no matter how hard you try, just as they might find themselves at a loss to understand how you can so skillfully do what you do, how you find the right words and use them to put a story together. Some people are writers, others are better at editing, easily applying their knowledge to ensure the correct structure of a sentence or the coherence of a story. Others’ creativity lies in visualizing and designing, and yet others know how to speak, how to publicize, how to mobilize. You might be able to do some of these, but not all. You need to work with those who have the appropriate skills. As Sister says it, if you’re in this for the long run, you’d do well to put together a team.
And one more thing, a point in this post that Author would like to emphasize: Author & Sister is not a purely business team. Author and Sister are sisters. When Sister speaks to you, she doesn’t do so as simply a publicist such as others you see out there. She isn’t there as a paid professional, to dryly represent a client, one of many. She speaks freely for Author, because she is her sister. She stands for Author when Author is not there, as her sister, as the only one who knows all about what Author does, her life, and yes, her thoughts, ideals, beliefs, what’s important to her. And to the writers among you, she doesn’t speak to you as an outsider. She understands because she is first and foremost an author’s sister, her closest family.
And this brings Author and Sister to their tip this week, which is, this won’t surprise you, about appreciation: for the people you work with, those who help you make your story better and those who help you bring your words to your readers. Respect them and their work as you would want them to respect you and yours. And even more important, appreciate those who stand by you throughout the process, who believe in it and in you, the people closest to you, whose words and support are enough to keep you going.