The power of teamwork to improve output is at least as true on RFP responses as on other projects. There is often still too much work for the time available, but properly harnessed teamwork will give you a better result than you could have imagined.
A casual comment via email to the publisher’s layout artiste about size options for The Book , with no expectation of any response. After all, we don’t yet have a contract, so all this is just conversation. Not to mention that it’s after 9 PM.
Bam! Thirty minutes later I have a detailed and thoughtful reply about the options, recognizing the layout work I’ve done to date and not wanting to lose that effort, while acknowledging that an 8 1/2 x 11 size isn’t the most professional look (even for a technical manual), and yet expressing concern that a smaller format would drive too many pages for a book that’s meant to be used regularly. A book that should lie flat when it’s open. Looking for a solution, she runs a quick experiment with a slightly reduced printing scale and is pleased to report that readability is just fine, the smaller look is way better, and the usability would remain high.
Who knows where we’ll end up with the format, but the passion and professionalism are unmistakable. She gets my book, she cares, and she knows her business. It’s like winning the trifecta at the track or scoring a hat trick in hockey.
There was a stage early in this process when I wondered whether I should just print the damned thing myself at my local office-supply store – the allure of retaining control was high. After all, I’d invested two years in the writing and twenty years in the learning what to write: letting someone else get their hands on it wasn’t the happiest feeling. So this is a timely reminder of what I already know from my sojourn in Proposal Land: many hands may not make light work (sometimes there’s still too much work to go around) but they make much, much better work.