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Accountability in Literature

March 30, 2016

firetruckAccountability. In the fire service, accountability is the term we use to remind us that everyone involved with a fire scene must be accounted for at all times. It takes a lot of personnel to control a situation successfully and there are a lot of risks involved with any fire scene. Accountability ensures us that everyone has a task and nobody becomes lost or forgotten. If accountability fails on the fire scene, the outcome can be tragic.

In the publishing industry, accountability, though not life-threatening, is equally as important. A successful book needs hard work from a variety of talented people in order to get the book published and in to the hands of the public. With a fire, it takes a truck full of firefighters to get an incident under control. With a book, it takes a truck full of creatives. Allow me to explain…


Firefighters or Creatives; sometimes, things get a little crazy.

When a fire truck rolls to the scene of a fire, the truck will have five firefighters inside, who are “geared-up” and ready to do what needs to be done to get the incident under control. In the driver’s seat, sits the driver. The driver knows the address and knows the best route to follow in order to get to the scene quickly and safely. The driver also knows how to get water flowing to the fire hoses, once the truck arrives at the scene. In the other front seat, sits the Incident Commander. This firefighter has the knowledge and the vision it takes to quickly develop an attack plan that will be both effective and safe. In the back seat of the truck sit three firefighters. They are ready to take on whatever task is handed to them. They have tools, hoses and air-tanks (SCBA) that make it possible for them to rescue people, extinguish fires and breath on the inside of the structure during the fire, if they must go inside.

Now, let’s return to publishing. In creating a book (we’ll use a children’s picture book for this example) we will also find a truck full of five “creative” who are “geared-up” and ready to make the book a success. In the driver’s seat, is the author. They know the story and they know every twist in turn along the way. In the other front seat sits the publisher. They know the big picture and understand what it will take to make the book a success. In the back seat sit the illustrator, the graphic designer and the marketing specialist. These three individuals have the tools to make the book come to life. The illustrator will create the art, the graphic design will layout all of the text, including the cover and spine titles and the marketing specialist knows who the target market is for the book and how to get it in front of the right people.

If everyone on the truck does their job, the book will hit the shelf (or the virtual shelf) and readers all around the world will be able to enjoy the story the author has created. Thanks to the author, the publisher, the artist, the graphic designer and good marketing, a book will enter the world successfully and not go “up in flames.”


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