Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pub Love

People throw around a lot of absolutes about publishing. It moves glacially. It's "hard to crack." It's a den of harlots and drunkards which...well, OK, that one goes to the cynics. And there are elements of publishing that support all of this. It takes a long time to get responses from agents and, for agents, there's a lot of following up with editors. For someone trying to break into publishing the industry can be mystifyingly closed. So, the absolutes are partial truths. Conglomerate the partial truths and you've got a pretty elitist, grim, and jaded picture of book people. But I work in publishing, and I can honestly say I've never met a-one that fits that bill.

So. What's the true nature of publishing? Who ARE these people?!

When I emerged, dewey-eyed and fresh-faced, from college, lucky enough to have a publishing gig, I asked this same question. My idealism (did I mention *fresh* out of college?) mandated that publishing be made up of pure-hearted book lovers who desire nothing more than to shepherd debut authors from the slush pile to the NYT list. People who thrive on reading and talking about--nay, obsessing about--books by their and others' authors. People bound by their love and admiration for the artists. The writers. And there are rainbows. Ehhhhhhhhhvvvveryyyyywhere. (Observe -->)


But come on. Wipe the dew out of your shining eyes, kiddo. Welcome to NY, right?

And so I waited with bated breath for my reality check.

Wouldn't you effing know it? I'm still waiting.

If there's any absolute about people that work in publishing, it's that they really are devoted to their writers. Publishing moves glacially because book deals are made in real, face-to-face conversations between editors and agents. They gush. They read. They gush. It takes time. Getting a job in publishing is hard because people hire on personal recommendation. Nearly everyone working today was once an intern, sifting through slush somewhere, and they're hiring people vetted in a similar way. They're hiring people who are willing to sacrifice, to work for no pay, who...OMG. Who love books. That's who these people are.

9 comments:

Amethyst Greye Alexander said...

Thank you for the reminder, Ms. Suzie.

Amethyst

JB Lynn said...

Thank you for sharing the love, Ms. Barnes! May yours continue to grow in leaps and bounds...

MissAttitude said...

Thank you for this post! As a teenager, I get depressed by all the news stories about people not loving their jobs and being jaded once they get out of college, etc. This was quite refreshing (especially since I might want go into publishing if I have the talent. I do have the drive :)

I want to work somewhere where I see rainbows EVERYWHERE =D

Buffy Andrews said...

Amen, Sistah! I loved this line: They're hiring people who are willing to sacrifice, to work for no pay, who...OMG. Who love books. That's who these people are.

And that's why we love you so. Keep up the terrific work and good luck on your literary journey. I'm rooting for you (doing cheer).

Sarah Goldberg said...

I'm still seeing residual rainbows from this summer.

Is there a Pub Love hashtag?

Veronica Roth said...

I took this class in college that really should have been titled "Teaching Young Writers to Despise Publishers 101." So imagine my shock when my experience with my publisher so far has been overwhelmingly positive. Like "exploding with sunshine and candy" positive.

So: Pub Love. YES. Great post.

Nathalie said...

It's wonderful to hear a real, yet fresh and encouraging post on what many deem an unattainable goal. Thanks!

Cassandra said...

Yay what a great post Meredith!

Casey McCormick said...

Love this post!

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Five Random Things About Suzie

1. I drink so much orange soda, it's probably running through my veins. I've been known to go through a twelve pack of diet sunkist in a day.

2. I'm legitimately nocturnal (or a vampire). I will be so exhausted at two pm that I'm falling asleep standing up - it has happened before, at Six Flags no less - but as soon as the sun goes down I'm wide awake.

3. I have a gorgeous unused $6000 Reem Acra wedding dress hanging in my closet, and it showed up on my doorstep the same day my (now ex) fiance broke up with me. And thank God for that. I wouldn't have wanted to waste that dress on him.

4. Social anxiety plagues me daily. I write a script and practice in front of the mirror when I have to make a phone call, but most people who interact with me have no idea how nervous I am (or perhaps they lie) because I've worked so hard to try to overcome it.

5. I'm actually worried that I will never love my children (when I do have them in the far off future) as much as I love my dogs. I just like animals better than people - they're sweet and innocent and soft and furry - is that so wrong?