Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Delegation

Last Sunday's reading was about Moses. The people of Israel had left Egypt, and they expected Moses to solve all their problems and disputes. This meant that he sat all day listening to their cases and deciding them. As there was no court calendar, it also meant that a person who wanted to be heard could easily spend all day waiting (the pastor compared it to going to the DMV without an appointment). Moses's father-in-law Jethro told him that this was not a good thing. Moses protested that he was the one God had talked to, so he was the only one who knew what God wanted. Jethro told Moses (1) to teach God's law to the people, and (2) to appoint capable people to hear the cases so that Moses only had to deal with the things nobody else could handle. (The original talk is at http://www.epicsf.com/get-connected/media; it's the "One Life" message of April 27, 2014.)

Delegation is a good thing, but there are some things a writer can't delegate, such as writing her books. Things that can be delegated include website design and updating, social media, newsletters, answering fan mail (or e-mail), etc.

There are certainly parts of producing an anthology that can be delegated--I know this because Marion delegated everything she didn't want to do to me: sending contracts; paying advances; sending contributors' copies; keeping track of royalties, authors' changes of address and names; and paying royalties. Her death added choosing the stories and the final line-up, assembling the manuscript and sending it to the publisher. Vera's/Norilana's bankruptcy added producing the book to the job. At least the Trust is willing to pay to have someone else do the book covers, because I'm horrible at that.

Then there's all my work for the Trust. At the moment, we have 20 anthologies in print, with two more coming this year, and two more planned for 2015. Most of them are paying royalties, and I expect the ones that aren't yet to do so in the next year or two. Given the number of authors involved, paying royalties is becoming a big job. When Marion was alive, she had a staff of four people in her office, plus another two in her household. Since her death, we've lost that staff to death, jobs that provide the salary needed to live, other interests, other responsibilities, and the fact that all of us are getting older. Only two of the staff were younger than I, and one of them is the one who died. So I'm the next-to-youngest, and I'm eligible to collect Social Security this year.

I need to delegate. I also need to train a replacement, because the Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust is going to outlive me. Even if I believe I can do my job better than anyone else, I won't always be able to do it--or even be here to do it.

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