Sooner or later, we benefit from being well-published.
Publishing has nothing to do with printing. It’s the act of taking risks to bring a new idea to people who want to embrace it.
It’s the head of the lab who works behind the scenes to be sure the talented scientist gets a gig at the right conference. Her talk propels the work forward.
It’s Bill Graham ‘publishing’ the Grateful Dead on stage at the Fillmore.
It’s Jean Feiwel orchestrating the bookstore success of Harry Potter…
Being well-published doesn’t guarantee that an idea or an individual will succeed. Instead, it creates the conditions to maximize the chances that the work will spread. It often involves:
Generous enthusiasm: In the moments when the marketplace hasn’t yet embraced the work, the publisher is a vital bridge between now and later.
Extraordinary logistics: It’s the tech crew that has read the rider, the operations team that makes sure the printing is done right and the strategic insight to prioritize the parts that matter.
Insightful provocation: The publisher knows the territory, and can encourage and amplify work that’s in sync with what the market will respond to.
A focus on distribution: If the work isn’t in the right place at the right time, it has no chance to thrive.
Resilience and investment: Few ideas work the first time they’re exposed to the audience. Resilience is the willingness and ability to try again, and investment represents the resources to do it well.
Just because something succeeds doesn’t mean it’s well-published, but well-published work has a better chance to succeed.
The people behind a well-published work rarely get the credit they deserve. It’s difficult and requires persistence and care.