Today, I am going to write an exceptionally self-indulgent post. You see, though I have been quiet on the Interwebs lately, in real life I have been anything but. I want to tell you about it.
It is a fairly well known fact that for the past year or so, I have been working for the small but wonderful US based publishing house, BookFish Books LLC. It's a terrific group of gals who run this place, each of them every bit as geeky as I. But, as you may also know, I am Canadian. This means that, since BookFish is an American outfit, I must work remotely.
It's lonely working remotely.
A few months ago, after much discussion and contemplation, I decided to start seeking local employment. Not because I wanted to leave BookFish---I didn't and I don't and I'm not---but because I wanted to experience what it would be like to work as an in-house editor in an actual house.
So begins my story.
In-house editorial positions are not easy to come by. They are highly sought after and not particularly high in number. Because of the recent influx in the self-publishing market, there is less money in the trade publishing world. That's just a hard fact. Resources are becoming more and more scarce, which means author advances are shrinking and so are house employee numbers. Sad but true. It's a crazy thing to look for work in an industry with lowering numbers. It just is. Call me crazy if you want (you'd not be the first).
Please note that this lowering of resources is not indicative of the consumer's declining interest in books. It simply means that, because anyone can publish a book and set their own price, free or inexpensive self-published books are changing the market. Our talented artists---the authors who have done the hard time and have earned their place in the publishing world---are the ones suffering, unfortunately. I'm all for the little guy finding success and there are a number of wonderful self-published books out there, but...self-publishing is seriously hurting the trade book industry and is generally lowering the standards of what we get to read. Suddenly our craft has become more about quantity rather than quality.
Uh...sorry. Did I just rant? My feelings on self-publishing are probably best left for their own post. But...
The point is, I began looking for a difficult to find in-house editorial position. What's more, I wanted a position that would allow me to work with the kind of books I am most passionate about---children's literature. My expectations were low, I am a realist if anything, but then...
For the next three months, I am going to be a member of the in-house editorial team at Fitzhenry and Whiteside Limited.
I wanted to talk today about what it's like to work in-house at one of the largest independent Canadian publishers. I wanted to explain to you about what I do all day there. How is it different from working remotely, how is it the same? Are the quality of the submissions any different? What have I learned?
But then I went and ranted about self publishing and took up all the space for this post.
In short, guys, it's amazing. I read, read, read high quality work all day long...and get paid for it (feels like thievery). If I need someone's opinion on the quality of a submission or the strength of a plot, I shout to the publisher whose desk is located about seven feet away from my own. I am involved in promotion, production, art selection. Already I have ripped apart and reorganized a manuscript...about moles. This job is focused on substantive editing, which is my absolute strongest suit. I am collaborating, brainstorming, looking over layouts alongside other finicky, like-minded people. In short, I am living the dream.
BookFish Books is a wonderful place and I am proud and happy to be on the team there. Truly, it's amazing. But there is something about working within a busy environment full of other people who are just as passionate about books (and who are just as dorky, too) as I am that is indescribable.
(Dear writers, did you know that Fitz takes unsolicited manuscripts? Oh yeah, it does. Check out the submission guidelines and put your package together. If it's good and it's for kids, I want to read it. My desk is the one those submissions will pass over first.)