Handing You Off to Charlie Stross Today
On account that Charlie is going to school you on the matter of How Books Are Made, because, as Charlie notes, the idea that the only two people needed to make a book are the author and the consumer is a bit of contemptible nonsense:
This is a bit like saying that in commercial air travel, “the only two people that matter are the pilot and the passenger (the rest add cost)”. To which I would say: what about the air traffic controllers (who stop the plane flying into other aircraft)? What about the maintenance engineers who keep it airworthy? The cabin crew, whose job is to evacuate the plane and save the passengers in event of an emergency (and keep them fed and irrigated in flight)? The airline’s back-office technical support staff who’re available by radio 24×7 to troubleshoot problems the pilots can’t diagnose? The meteorology folks who provide weather forecasts and advise flight planners where to route their flights? The fuel tanker drivers who are responsible for making sure that the airliner has the right amount of the right type of fuel to reach its destination, and that it’s clean and uncontaminated? The designers and engineers at Boeing, Airbus, Embraer, or the other manufacturers who build the bloody things in the first place …?
I’d personally use an even simpler formulation, which is that there a lot of people who seem to think that all you need for a book are a reader and an author, but no one seems to think that all you need for a double cheeseburger is a hungry dude and a cattle rancher. For that matter, no one ever seems to tell a cattle rancher that in the glorious future he’ll be able to do all the steps of cheeseburger production himself, either. Possibly because a cattle rancher can instigate a stampede. Do not enrage a cattle rancher.
Anyway, head over to Charlie’s, he’ll get you in the loop as to what actually has to happen to get a cow novel from a cattle rancher an author to a hungry dude you.