Monday, April 16, 2012

The March Monthly Round-up

I know, I know, I know!  I am terribly late in doing these round-ups lately.  Well, for what it's worth, not a lot of reading is getting accomplished.  I've simply been swamped with deals, contracts, royalty statements, royalty payments, stabbing myself in the hand, and a cold.

Yes, I stabbed myself in the hand.  It has healed, but for a week there, typing was impossible.

Oh, and I lost another intern.  This one lasted two days.  Now, I have lost interns because they realized this internship involved real work and they didn't have the time or energy to do real work.  I have lost interns because they realized the commute from their apartment to my office was far more of a nightmare than they anticipated.  And I have lost interns because they realized that they suddenly needed this class or that class to graduate and they couldn't do the internship and the class at the same time.  However, in this case, I lost the intern because, and I quote, she felt I had a "strong condescending personality," and this would make for "an unhealthy environment for learning."

Now, my wife will read this and wonder, Why is he posting that?  Allow me to explain.

Publishing is a shitty business.  Really, it is.  You don't go into publishing to get rich.  You shouldn't go into publishing because you want to "read all the time," because you won't.  You should go into publishing because you love books and reading and get a visceral thrill from buying a new book.  But you should not expect it to be easy.

My first boss in publishing made Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada look nearly rational.  My starting salary was $15,000 a year, plus overtime.  My position was split between two women who traded me off like the "slave boy" in The Flintstones.  I regularly worked until 11 or midnight on Tuesday nights because I was not allowed to touch the first woman's out-box again until Friday.  I regularly worked at least one day every weekend.  I was sent out to buy my boss lunch and was expected to make her coffee because she needed decaf (but she drank a six-pack of Diet Coke every day!).  And she clearly felt that this was all something she had earned over the years of toiling in publishing.

My second bosses in publishing were much more sane, but still had earned their stripes only after toiling for years and years.  I used to say that they felt like they had crawled through shit and broken glass to get where they were and they clearly expected I should do the same.

My third boss was a lunatic.  He called me the fucking amateur to my face.  He called a publicity associate a fucking moron.  He called the Executive Editor a fat fuck, though I don't think he did it to her face.  He was known to use the C-word when referring to women.  A real charmer.

Do I need to go on?

Publishing is full of difficult personalities.  Maybe because the business is so hard or maybe because you do need to be creative to survive in it and creative personalities are often difficult ones.  Am I one of them?  Clearly this intern thought so.  Yet, on the other hand, is it condescending if you are lecturing a student on a subject about which she knows nothing?

Rent The Paper Chase or The Devil Wears Prada or, hell, The Empire Strikes Back.  Was Charles Kingsfield too hard on his students?  Was Meryl Streep really too hard on Anne Hathaway?  Was Yoda too hard on Luke Skywalker? (I'm such a geek; I misspelled Yoda and there was actually a correction in the dictionary software and this made me happy!)  No, I am not Yoda.  I'm taller.  But you get the point.  If you are that thin-skinned that you are insulted by someone actually trying to teach you something, then publishing is unlikely to be the business for you.


Okay, so I promised the monthly round-up.

For the month of March 2012:

  • 67 queries received; 8 declined;
  • 3 sample chapters received; 10 declined;
  • 0 proposals received; 2 declined;
  • 2 manuscripts received; 0 declined;

I currently have 94 eQueries™ to read, as well as one proposal and one sample chapter (actually, he sent the whole book, but I only requested a chapter, but it's a bound book, so I guess I understand).  And I have more than a dozen full manuscripts from clients and potential clients to read.

Rebecca, my trusty intern from last year (who reassures me that I have a strong personality, but not a condescending personality) is still knocking out a reader's report every month or so.  But until we have a new intern or two starting next month, things will continue to be slow in the reading department.

Thanks, as always, for your patience.



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