Publishing is like a four-legged table

He made a sketch of a four-legged table on the white board and asked us, “What are the names of these four legs?” We, the participants in this 3-part financial management workshop at LittWorld 2012, started to answer Tony Wales, global publishing consultant.

“Yes, that’s correct.” Tony wrote it on the board.

“Yes, Editorial, what else?” He wrote the name of another leg.

“Yes, and what else?” He named the third leg.

“But, what is the difference between marketing and distribution?” Someone asked him.

“Marketing is sales. And distribution is how the books go to the readers. And the fourth is…”

“Yes, financial,” wrote Tony. “And what would happen if one of these legs is shorter than the others?”

We nodded. Looking at the picture, the message was so clear for us.

“How is the financial health of our publishing?” asked Tony. “Just as when we go to the doctor, so there are various checks we can make to assess our financial health. It just needs to be planned into our lives. Jesus commands us to plan, in Luke 14:28-33.”

We read that passage:
“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’

“Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.” (NLT)

“We are called to serve the Lord,” Tony said. “Jesus combines the challenge of discipleship with commonsense planning whether a building or a war. There are clear comparisons between our call as his disciples to be publishers of the good news and planning to build and to take the battle to the enemy. In every sense we need to plan and to go into action with deliberate care.”

And he continued, “This is why we need to know how to plan and understand our finances. The same principles apply for us personally as well as the organization we work with. Or are we careless about our personal finances?”

The class was so quiet as we pondered what he said.

Do we know the cost of doing the job, and do we have a plan for it?

By Eva Kristiaman, originally published on her blog, Salt and Light of the World.

Photos by Eric Gitonga

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