There are many analogies that could be used to describe a publisher, but one of the most apt appears to be that of the midwife/doctor/surgeon whose responsibility it is to oversee the delivery of a baby.
Surrounded by technology and a skilled team of professionals, and with the use of tools (the most important of which is knowledge), the midwife/doctor/surgeon delivers the baby into the world with as much or as little intervention as is necessary.
It goes without saying that each birth is coordinated with a number of other births that are occurring in the hospital/locale (read publishing house) at the same time. Recently, however, the frenetic nature of publishing has been on the increase as the number of multiple births (read book formats) has grown, and this is where the analogy of the hospital birthing unit starts to falter as the number of triplets and quadruplets shows no sign of abating. In fact quads have become the norm, and even sextuplets are not unusual for a publisher such as O’Reilly Media, for example. Continue Reading »