5 Things to Do When Preparing for a Publishing Meeting

5 Things to Do When Preparing for a Publishing Meeting

Lots of energy and enthusiasm surrounds meetings with you and your publisher and/or agent. Or that should be the case. Whether in person or virtually, these engagements have serious impact on your future as a writer and author. It might be a book contract offer, a strategy meeting, a pitch spot, or project update and can either happen virtually or face-to-face. From the brainstorming session to timeline check-in, these meetings matter.

For any meeting to have beneficial outcomes for all parties involved, you need to prepare in advance.

If you’re a new author with nervous energy, uncertainty, and the fog of anticipation may cloud your vision, that’s to be expected. A great editor and agent appreciate enthusiasm and if channeled right, revel in your infectious positivity. If you’re a seasoned author, meetings may take on an entirely different tone. By now you’re familiar with the process and expectations. Your business partnership is well established. And yes, this is a business after all. These meetings are probably focused on the project logistics more than the vision. Still, preparation is key. It saves time and inspires commitment. Most of all, it ensures a sustainable and profitable relationship.

With this in mind, here are five things to do in preparation for your next publishing meeting:

  1. Come Prepared: Remember, and I can’t say it enough, this is a business. No professional worth their salt would come to a money meeting unprepared. Nor should you. Business is being transacted each time you meet with your publishing partners. While technically you are the client, that doesn’t make you a Diva. Respect their time and investment by showing up on time with talking points you want to address. Typically, your agent or editor will run the meeting, but this doesn’t mean you don’t have a voice. Rather, they want to hear from you. What are your plans for making this project a profitable venture and what are your ideas for contributing to its success? These are a few prompts to consider as you plan and prepare, but trust me there are plenty more. As you network with fellow authors and writers ask them about their experiences and advice.
  2. Bring Questions: It’s a lucky day when busy professionals find their email inbox empty. Actually, it’s practically non-existent. That’s why editors and agents are certainly grateful when you table your questions until a one-on-one. They expect you to bring inquiries to the meeting and ensure enough time to address them. So, unless it’s a burning question that needs immediate response, start making a list for your upcoming publishing meeting.
  3. Stay Focused: You might be the most consistently published author out there, but that’s no excuse to lose your focus. Status updates, deadline reinforcements, editorial suggestions, sales expectations, cover image reviews, galley markups, and follow up projects continue to be top of mind for editors and agents. Don’t lose your focus, nor their interest, support, investment, and partnership with a cavalier approach. There are too many new authors and titles vying to take your place every day. So, stay focused and be sure to contribute worthwhile conversation, questions, and answers at every publishing meeting you attend.
  4. Look Professional: You don’t need to wear a suit but show respect to your editor and agent by being a professional client. Whether you wear your “author brand” apparel or clean sweater and slacks, please show up polished. With respect to my curmudgeonly author friend with his errant whisps of hair crowning his consistently ruffled appearance, at the very least, please brush your locks (and your teeth). Remember, cute and quirky is fleeting; professional instills confidence. A “hot mess” might be forgiven once, but trust me, it won’t be forgotten.
  5. Follow Up: These two little words are becoming as antiquated as a facsimile machine (Gen Zs, please “Google” this). My point? This is a shame. Few people follow up these days. Whether it’s returning a call or text, holding true to a promise, or yes, showing effort and gratitude. Sigh. Don’t fall down this slippery slope. If you’re asked to do something or offer to follow up…do it! This not only makes everyone’s job easier, it marks you as the client others want to work with. Your book may be awesome, but if you continually flake on expectations, it won’t be long before you’re dropped. On the other hand, to keep your publishing partners fired up to make you a best-selling author, then get after it. Follow up and follow through on projects and promises.

I hope this article provided you with a few applicable ideas. I would be honored if you shared this on social media. And speaking of sharing, please share your own ideas and experiences below. Together, we can build an uplifting community that focuses on supporting each other’s success.

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