Brick By Brick: Who’s On Your Team

I’ve talked about the parallels between constructing a building and creating a novel.

Today we’re going to focus on members of the team who completes the project.

In the building industry, there are experts at every level who are in charge of certain operations.

In the pre-construction phase, the project manager works with analysts who do the research on demographics, cost/profit projections, as well as appropriate  architectural style and size for a location; the developers present proposals to investors to raise capital and the design team (architect, landscape designer and interior designer) create the blueprints and plans for the proposed project.

In the construction phase, the project manager works with the general contractor, the field personnel, the subcontractors and the suppliers to erect the building.

In the post-construction phase, the project manager works with the field personnel and city inspectors to make sure everything conforms to necessary standards, the interior and landscape designers to give the final tweaks to the project and the realtors or marketing team to sell the project.

In the publishing industry. The writer is the project manager and most of the other members of the team.

In the pre-creation phase and creation phase the writer is pretty much on his/her own. Until an author turns out a series of best sellers, no publisher is inclined to provide money for an unwritten book. During this process, the writer must find another way to bring in an income to cover necessary expenses.

Once the book is written and revised, some writers follow the traditional path and hire an agent. The agent is a great deal of help in the negotiation phase with a publisher and is an expert in the area of contracts and  copyright issues. If the writer contracts with a traditional publisher, they will also gain the assistance of an editor to help with the proof reading and possible resisions of the novel. Once it has passed the editorial phase, the publisher will hire a graphics artist to design the cover and will be in charge of formatting the manuscript for the print version.

For an independent author who self-publishes his/her paperback and e-book, there are no other members of the team. The only support comes from family and friends who have taken an interest in the project from the pre-creation phase through the marketing phase.

So the next time someone asks what you do, you can say that you’re a writer and know that phrase incompasses so much more than your questioner may ever know.

During the next weeks we will be discussing the various phases in the building of the novel and comparing them with the construction of a building. In August I am teaching an 8 week class on this topic: Brick By Brick: Building Your Novel. You can get more information and sign up for the class on my website:

For now, I’d like to hear how you as a writer manages all the details without any other members of your team.

How did you support yourself while you were writing your first novel?

Who was the most help to you as you completed your project?


About Sharon K Owen

I am a fiction writer, a university professor, a copy editor and an online writing teacher. My first Romantic Suspense: Thicker Than Water (Brands Crossing Series) was published in 2011 and the second book in the series, Whatever Goes Around, will be published in 2016. My short stories and poetry have been published in Descant, Concho River Review, Iron Horse, American Literary Review, Trinity Writer's Workshop newsletter and collections of Christmas stories. I am blessed with a loving, supportive family, a multitude of friends and the good fortune to share a cozy sanctuary in North Texas with my two cats (Matt and Cinders).

Posted on June 4, 2012, in Classes, Writers, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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