This week's topic at the SFF Seven is Contractor Best Practices. When working with a 3rd party in support of your book, what's one thing you do to make your life and theirs easier or to make the project more successful? This can be in regards to artists, editors, formatters, personal assistants, etc.
Having been on both sides of the coin in this regard, and having released my first novel last year, I can readily say that, for me, communication is key. Good communication can be difficult in our world of emails, direct messaging, and texting, which sounds off when I read it since all of those are forms of communication--but it's true. Often, much gets left out of rushed emails, quick DM's, and brief texts. We sometimes forget how to give proper information to people who don't know us or don't know how to read the subtext we might leave behind in a message. Assuming that things are understood can be problematic if the information wasn't specific, detailed, and clear.
I've had to remind myself several times this year to SLOW DOWN and do a better job of communicating. Sometimes, the things we consider givens are not so with others, so be sure both parties have a clear understanding of what's expected (and when and how) from each other.
I think it's also important to remember that, as an author, you're part of a professional industry, regardless of the fact that you might rarely see other humans from the publishing world (or even the regular world). Professionalism is something you can't afford to abandon if you intend to garner respect from those in your field.
Now, if the situation is reversed and you're the one chasing someone whom you've paid for work, waiting unreasonably past a deadline, or struggling to get someone to meet you with the same professionalism that you deliver, then you just have to deal with those situations as they will inevitably come. I typically try to give people the benefit of the doubt and a second chance, but if you burn me again, you go on my No-No list ;)
I look forward to reading the other posts to see what everyone comes up with on this topic.
How about you? What do you feel is a best practice when it comes to working with a 3rd party?