I read an interesting essay this weekend about how the world is split into Makers and Managers, and why these two types of people work completely differently. The idea is that there are those of us whose job it is to make something—programmers, writers, creatives, artists, chefs, designers—and those of us whose job it is to keep the whole shebang running smoothly. (Here’s the whole essay; it’s written by Paul Graham, co-founder of the seed capital firm Y Combinator, found via The Nester.)
But I actually think more jobs fall right in between Maker and Manager these days. The job of an agent definitely requires a bit of Maker and Manager. We’re managing our author’s careers; we’re meeting with editors; we’re coordinating and mediating and generally making sure projects run smoothly. But we’re also creatives, particularly in the initial stages of a project, when ideas are still being molded and the proposal or manuscript is being revised and often rewritten.
I also thinks that most authors are all also part Makers and part Managers. Yes, a big part of their work—the writing—falls strictly in the realm of creative work. But the other stuff that’s just as important—the platform and brand building—requires managing designers and often employees, meeting with potential partners, crafting business plans, marketing, networking, etc. After all, an author who is building a platform is essentially a small business owner, and therefore wears many, many hats. And what does that lead to?
Hat hair. Oh, and burnout.