Author Relations





 

At your request, Generic will communicate directly with your authors—for instance to improve a publishing schedule. We also communicate directly with your authors when we act as your full-service provider or when we are commissioned to help your author develop camera-ready copy.
     These author-compositor communications mean that you have made us your agent in dealing with an author. Please be reassured: the principals of Generic have over sixty years of experience in working with authors. We apply this experience to two principles of author relations: we will present the truth clearly and honestly and we will make the effort to educate authors as necessary about the publishing industry. These principles, seen in the following steps for effective communication, are your best guarantee of author satisfaction.
 

Tell authors what to expect
Generic first aims to gain a commitment from your author. To do this we develop a time-and-task chart and clarify the effort involved at each stage. We then work with the author to establish realistic schedules.
     We have all seen situations where a schedule is proposed without the commitment of the entire team; this is the surest way to anger an author and lose a publication date. Instead, we explain the steps involved, estimate realistically the amount of time each stage will take, and gain commitment to a mutually developed plan.
     When dealing with your author, we focus on process, not results. For example, an author may become testy when a promise is broken (e.g., when the "final manuscript" turns out to need additional time-consuming revision), so we emphasize the evolutionary nature of a schedule without promising a specific publication date.
 

Enumerate and review the team's plans
Successful planning requires flexible review and revision as well as the developing of a set of dates.
     Once we have gained your author's commitment to a mutually developed plan, we continue to review the project to keep both you and your author informed of progress. This iterative review process is a safety net that prevents items from falling through the slats and reinforces the commitment to both the schedule and the plan.

Respond quickly to author calls
In years past, authors might have written to their publisher and been delighted with a response before the next full moon. With modern technologies, authors anticipate instant feedback ("I sent you a fax this morning and haven't heard back yet."). With author expectations high—and author irritation high when a timely response is not forthcoming—we quickly acknowledge all author communications. We choose the author's preferred medium—phone, e-mail, fax, messenger, or postal service—because it meets the author's perception of "timeliness" in a response.

Respond thoroughly to author calls
Generic responds to every author query—and the response ends with "Does this answer your question?" In this way, we make sure that we have answered the unspoken (as well as the spoken) question.
     Many authors have some knowledge of the publishing process and of what will be needed in terms of manuscript and proof review—replete with misconceptions.
     
We have found that correcting these misconceptions as they become apparent may take time, but this time is well spent and will eliminate subsequent confusion. This type of professionalism helps to keep projects on target. 

Show authors you haven't forgotten them
An author who feels neglected may share this frustration with colleagues—an unnecessary part of the publishing experience.
     Neglect tends to occur during the less frantic months of manuscript review, art rendering, or composition; it rarely occurs when manuscript or proof is flying to and fro on a weekly basis.
     We therefore communicate every few weeks with the author—even if only with an "all is well" note. In other words, we recognize the fact that the author is not only integral to the publishing process, but also human.
 

Review what we have done
We are proud of the quality of our reviews, editing, typography, and art, and we want this quality recognized. Because authors may not understand the nuances of these skills, we go out of our way to educate them and make them as enthusiastic as we are. Generic wants customers that are more than simply "satisfied."
     If for some reason an author is dissatisfied, we naturally will commiserate—then we will help the author identify acceptable solutions. In one recent case, an author felt she was losing control of her project during the production process, so we educated her about page layout. Once familiar with the physical constraints of making pages, she became more understanding and even revised material to make the page layout more effective.


For further information, please email us, including your name, affiliation, and areas of interest, and we will get back to you quickly.


Generic Compositors
152 Starheim Road
Stamford, NY 12167
607 652-BOOK (2665)
815 346-5272 (fax)
email us

Copyright © 2001 Generic Compositors, a Division of Stonecrest Industries, Inc. 1/27/12 12:29 PM

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