Four kinds of publishing jobs

Over on LinkedIn, Lou Adler posted an article about getting the right people in the right kind of job. Based on his history of creating job descriptions for employers, he developed a model that states “there are only four different jobs in the whole world.”

What he means by this is that there are four types of jobs:

  1. Thinkers develop new ideas.
  2. Builders convert these ideas into reality.
  3. Improvers make this reality better.
  4. Producers do the work over and over again, delivering quality goods and services to the company’s customers in a repeatable manner.

Adler points out that most jobs actually include more than one of these factors, and that most people are capable of filling more than one kind of role.

I wanted to look at how these four job types fit into publishing:

  • Writers are thinkers. They create works of out of their own imagination. Especially novelists.
  • Editors are improvers. We eliminate inconsistencies and errors so only the best of the writer’s vision remains.
  • Page designers are builders. They convert the edited words into attractive books and digital files.
  • Press operators are producers who turn the designers’ files into a physical product, and ensure the quality of it.

Sad to say, in the case of e-books, the producer is a computer server. Hope that doesn’t ruin your day.

Now, here’s another thought for you novelists: Into which of these four categories does your protagonist fit?

About Kristen Stieffel

Kristen Stieffel is a writer and freelance editor specializing in speculative fiction. She's a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, Christian Editor Connection, and American Christian Fiction Writers.

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