Find Your Perfect Partners
by Bobbye Middendorf
No publisher is an island.
Publishers need partners to accomplish goals, but one person’s great
partnership is someone else’s circle of hell. How can you achieve your goals
through partnerships that work for you?
The following questions will help
you work through both a self-reflective process and a proactive process to seek
a perfect partnership.
For each potential partnership,
begin by looking at what you bring to the table.
· What are your relevant skills,
strengths, experience, and knowledge?
· Where do you need support or
another skill set?
· How do you prefer to work? Fast or
faster? Early or late? Detail oriented or big picture? Hands-on or delegating?
· What is your ideal day or your
ideal set of activities in the relevant areas? Identify what you personally
want to be doing and how you see yourself interacting in harmony with a
partner. Write this down.
Once you’ve examined possible
editorial, marketing, PR, production, or financial partnerships from your point
of view, identify what you want from your partner. It’s important to be
thorough in defining the perfect partner’s qualities.
· What specific skills, knowledge,
experience, strengths, and attitudes do you need?
· Do you have a project summary
sheet—in essence, a job description—that will help you communicate
clearly what you need your partner to handle?
· Have you gathered referrals from
trusted sources and through resources such as PMA?
· Can you define the exact match you
want to accomplish your goals?
Doing Due Diligence
You’ve networked and found some
possible candidates. Some may be freelance or independent contractors; others
may be colleagues you could bring into your business either full time or part time.
Once you’ve reviewed their
qualifications, work samples, and lists of results they’ve generated for
others, you can use eight questions to explore what each prospective partner
· Who else have you partnered with?
How did that work?
· May I call any of your clients for
a testimonial and to discuss your work?
· What were the most significant
results you achieved with project X? How did those results compare to what was
planned at the beginning?
· How will we know when and whether
we have success in this collaboration?
· What are the possibilities that
excited you most about working with me?
· Where do you see this partnership
going, if all goes according to plan?
· How long, and in what ways, have
you partnered with publishing companies like mine?
· Why do you feel we make a great
Reflecting on Responses
To proceed gracefully into your
partnership, you need to review all questions and answers—both your own
and your potential partner’s. Be alert to gut reactions or intuitions that give
you pause. Trust your gut and request clarification if something bothers you.
If you’re sure you’re ready to
cement a partnership with an agreement, then reconfirm that you’ve clarified
all the details.
· Have you identified shared values
· Is everyone on board with intended
results and timelines?
· Have you mapped out who does what,
and by when, so that your partner will complement your strengths and work
styles as much as possible?
· Have you and your partner resolved
to acknowledge wins and bring up issues before they blossom into problems?
Every publisher needs a stable of
strong partners to bring out excellent books and other products in a timely
fashion. Using these partnership success questions, you will build from your
own strengths and add partners whose activities resonate with what you do.
Bobbye Middendorf is an
award-winning feature writer, reviewer, copywriter, and marketing consultant
with more than 25 years’ experience in business and publishing. Her clients
have included ALA Editions, Thomson, Berrett-Koehler, Hound Press, and Banco
Popular. To reach her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.