By Jack Bussell
Ink under the fingernails –– at least that’s what one might expect from a veteran publishing sales professional. The reality is that my job is much different from many jobs in the industry. It’s hard work with a rewarding twist, one that acquires the author’s story for readers everywhere.
Rising with the sun, my typical day begins with organizing my email account, responding to emails from current Atlantic authors, potential authors, book resellers, and the in-house editorial team at Atlantic Publishing. My work as a publishing consultant revolves around working with many different authors, all at a different stop on their path to becoming a published author. Sometimes I work with authors in the midst of drafting their manuscript, looking for constructive feedback, while other times I work with authors searching for a ghostwriter or who have a final product ready to be given to our editors. No matter the stage of the manuscript, it’s my joy to be able to work with these authors at the very start of their publishing journey.
Once I’ve spoken with an author and our team has had a chance to review their manuscript, I work with the editorial team to determine if the manuscript will be a good fit for Atlantic. If we determine that we would like to take on a manuscript, I spend my day negotiating contracts with the author, trying to find the terms that are just right for them and their book.
After a contract has been signed and the editorial team has started working on the project, the second facet of my job comes into play: promoting and selling books to places where readers gather to discover the newest publications that inspire and inform, delivering experiences and the passion of our authors. Publishers typically divide acquisition and sales responsibilities, but I am blessed with the opportunity to do both. Given that I see these manuscripts go from their rough beginnings to their final published form, I have an extra incentive to promote these titles and get them into the hands of the reader; I know how hard our author’s work every single day and how determined they are to succeed, something that I have a unique ability to do.
Every day I wear a hat of acquisitions and the sales cap for buyers, presenting the next new published work. I promote and sell their work into all commercial markets. For some this may seem overwhelming but for me it is invigorating. I benefit authors by understanding the process from start to finish. Our authors have a unique access to a sales professional who understands the challenges that come before and after developing manuscript. My day is long, but I know I served the aspiring author and their potential reader with a relentless effort.
Jack Bussell began a publishing sales career in 1990, spanning 26 years with Macmillan, Pearson, IDG Books, and Wiley Publishing. After retiring from Wiley in 2016, he began working with Atlantic Publishing as a publisher consultant, continuing to develop sales while advising and acquiring new authors for the Partnership Publishing Program.