Friday, April 2, 2010

Nothing is personal, everything is personal

"The author-publisher relationship is more like a patient-doctor relationship—for one it means everything while the other is just trying to do his job", i found myself blurting out to a very nice, wise-with-age lady, who apparently had a terrible experience with her first publisher (and frankly not so great experience with us either till now, but i am determined to change that.) Just like a school-kid, my tongue was in the process of sneaking out from between the teeth, realising i may have crossed the line, when i saw her nodding and gently acknowledging, "yes, you are so right." With great relief, i let the tongue roll back into its place.

Now, my family doctor is a great guy and we get along like good friends. Come to think of it, we actually do consider each other a friend. It doesn't mean though that I don't have to be a part of the queue to see him or he doesn't charge me money, or i take tele-prescriptions from him at the drop of a hat, but it does mean that i almost always get the right advice and when i do call him at an unearthly hour, he is there for me. Most importantly, when i go to consult him, i get his undivided attention, which all his patients get too. The catch-word here is mutual respect, i don't cross my limit of expectations and he continuously tries to empathise with my situation.

I must confess it is easier to be a good patient than to be a good publisher. Expectations on the other side, more often than not, are high. You are constantly being judged and a fine line divides a friend-for-life and an enemy-for-life. Okay, okay, i exaggerated for effect but you get what i mean, don't you? My solution— remain true to yourself and empathise—usually everything falls in place when the intention is sincere and the thought process clear. And if you feel there is a difference between what you can deliver and the other side expects, recommend him to a super-specialist. At least my family doctor does that, and it works !