In this blog post, we’re doing something a little different. To celebrate the holiday season, rather than sharing “how-to” tips on writing or marketing or publishing, we want to explain why we’re grateful for the big authentic author gifts we have received from our clients throughout the year.
We have received author gifts from those who chose us to work with in the past year. Author gifts from those whose projects we completed and published, and from authors whose work with Ingenium Books has spanned more than a single calendar year. (Yup, books can be big, complex, long projects… we do not subscribe to the idea that churning crap out fast is always the best way to go. Good books take time.)
The gifts we’ve received from these authors are not the kind that come neatly packaged in boxes with bright red bows. They’re not the kind that come with gift exchange receipts, or that can be hung on a wall or off our shoulders. The authentic gifts we’ve received from our authors this past year are invaluable and irreplaceable. And during his holiday season we want to shout our gratitude to the rooftops.
The author gifts we have received include the gift of trust. Trust with their raw words. Trust that we would guide them through the editorial and publishing processes. Trust that we will keep their best interests at heart, which means sometimes giving them advice or feedback or news they would rather not hear (e.g. you need to rewrite that chapter).
We cannot do what we do…. help independent authors on their self-publishing authorpreneur journeys, without that key element of trust. Without trust, Ingenium Books would be nothing. And we hope we have returned the gift of trust: trust that our best advice will be accepted in the spirit in which it is intended… which is to help ensure the best possible book at the end of our journey together, of course. But more than that, it is at the centre of one of our core values: to create lasting relationships.
The author gifts we have received include the gift of learning. In some cases we impart the learning to them, such as when we put on our author coaching hats and tease out their proficiency with dialogue in nonfiction, or when to choose passive voice. But more often it is us on the receiving end of the learning.
We learn about their personal and professional journeys. We learn about their tenacity, the power in their vulnerability, the potential in their goals and objectives… and we learn about the value of clear expectations and delivering as promised. This gift of learning feeds another of our core values: Reflect, Respond, Re-energize. We know that creative discovery means encountering the unexpected, on our side and on the side of our authors. The gift of learning means we get to reflect on what’s happened to get us to this point. We respond by taking steps to find outstanding answers and, if necessary, by adjusting our course. Then we re-energize the whole team so we can all focus on the best way forward.
The authors we have worked with this year have all, without exception, given us the gift of flexibility. When they expected to publish by a certain date but accepted our advice for a major rewrite instead. When they expected the first draft was the last bit of writing they’d need to do… only to find there was plenty of writing for them through the editing process. When we expected they might want to settle for a result that was good enough… only to find them ready and willing to buckle down and do the harder work to notch it up to as good as possible… which meant we all needed to be flexible with project timelines.
The author gifts we have received also include the gift of creative expression. Which, of course, is another one of our four core values. We are energized by inclusion into our authors’ journey of creative expression, and we are honoured that choosing us to work with them on their book project means we get to flex our creative expression muscles. From conceptualizing a new structure for their manuscript, to brainstorming about a new title, to talking through the desired design elements of their cover, and of course the linguistic creativity in coaching to craft the prose that says just what the author means.
The authors we have worked with this year have all, without exception, given us perhaps the most important and lasting gift of all: inspiration. Not our inspiration of our authors, although we hope we have maybe offered a little of that. But it’s the inspiration of the author prone to overwhelm facing down the daunting task of getting that 70,000-word manuscript written. The inspiration of the author dredging up painful memories, turning the remembered emotions over in their mind and transposing it onto paper. The inspiration of the perseverance demonstrated by the author who accepts that, yes, a fourth rewrite of the manuscript is indeed the way to go. These gifts of inspiration show us the real magic in this business we’re in… of working to help independent authors achieve their goal and in many cases realize the dream of writing and publishing a book.
For these everlasting life-giving author gifts, we will be forever grateful. Like fuel to the fire in our creative soul, they leave us awash with gratitude. They leave us feeling optimistic about the coming year, eager to get to know the author clients we have yet to meet… and, of course, they leave us looking forward to continuing the journey with today’s author clients and to proudly parading their book projects forward to publish.
Thank you for the gifts. You know who you are.