Thursday, March 22, 2007

Getting the credit

An author’s name is always somewhere on the cover. If there’s a separate illustrator, then his or her name is on the cover too. The names missing are the editors, designers, and dozens of other people who helped make the book possible. Sometimes a designer’s name will be on the copyright page in small letters, but the credit usually stops there.

Sometimes I feel that I deserve most of the credit for a book but at other times I wish my editor's name was listed as well. Even when I think the book comes out exactly as I'd wanted it to the effort is always collaborative.

There are times when the author may have agreed to put something in the book that he or she wasn’t that fond of. There’s always that give and take--the editor bends some and so does the author. It’s hard when the reviews start coming in. Regardless of who’s involved, the author is the one who gets the brunt of it. I’m sure it would stink if an author agreed to put something in a book that he or she didn’t want in there and then that thing got criticized in a review or multiple reviews. The same is probably true in reverse for an editor—suppose he/she made a great suggestion and it got in the book? Suppose the editor shaped the entire book and his or her ideas got praised? Since celebrity books are all the rage I’m sure that happens often.

Then of course there are times when the editor or publisher does have to bear the brunt of the blame. Remember OJ’s book? Somebody lost her job. And then there was A Million Little Pieces. The “behind the scenes” people were on Oprah taking the blame too!

I'd love to hear Alvina's perspective on this. What goes on behind the scenes? If a book tanks what happens behind closed doors? Alvina probably can't talk about it so this might remain a mystery....

In conclusion: Publishing can be quite secretive. Credit isn’t usually given. Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes it’s bad.

As always, Meghan aka trouble maker, tellin it like it is

p.s- stay tuned for some fun YouTube videos that will be added to my Aliens website.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes the editor's name does appear on the book -- when it's her own imprint!

Meghan McCarthy said...

Ha, yeah, I forgot about that. That must be exciting to get your name on a book in that way!

alvinaling said...

I go back and forth on the subject of credit. When I first started in publishing, I thought it would make sense to have credits like they do in television and movies. I know some publishers seem to have started adding a "credit page" to the back of the book where the editor, designer, production person, copyeditor, etc. are all credited. I'm honestly not sure what I think about that, since now I'm pretty used to the "no credit" model. I consider the books I edit "my babies," too, but I do think that above everything they "belong" to the author and illustrator. Anyway, Meghan, I think you've already touched on many of the pros and cons...but I'll think about this more and see if I'm able to post about it on Monday. Interesting topic!

Anonymous said...

Editors, art directors, publishers, marketers, etc., perform invaluable and essential work in the life of a book, and a good author and/or illustrator is grateful for them. But the authors and illustrators start from nothing, and make something. No one else in the process approaches that dedication of time, thought, energy and, most of all, that initial leap of faith.

Anonymous said...

as an editor, i think it's a little egotistical to want and/or demand credit on a book. (not that very many editors demand credit, though i can certainly think of a few.) Frankly, my job as editor is to make the most fabulous book and be completely invisible in the finished product.

it's not that we don't deserve accolades, as do other folks, and lord knows, it's so easy to feel unappreciated in this industry. but i leave it up to the author to decide who to mention and who not to.

Rita said...

As always, Meghan aka trouble maker, tellin it like it is

You have the greatest topics.


:D :D