The One with my Glamorous Job
My job is very weird. It is one part reading critically, one part working as an administrative assistant, one part brainstorming, one part mailing, and one part complete and total randomness. I always have a hard time blogging about it, mostly because every day is so different and, while it might seem from the outside that we are moving at the pace of drunken snails, there are a thousand little things I have to work through. Most of these thousand little things are not what you would call blog-worthy: putting through contract and check requests, writing up acquisition forms, keeping up with our submissions log... you get the picture.
That's not to say that I don't have weird things that pop up. Take Monday, for example, when the following phone conversation took place:
Alex: Hi, this is Alex Other Person: .... Alex: Hello? Other Person: Hi this is... XXX, I'm about to go into high school and I want to be an editor or publisher. Alex *staring at the pile of work she still has to overcome before she can go home and collapse*: That's great! Obviously 14 year-old girl: I'm just wondering if I need to take French or not. Alex: You mean in school? O14YOG: Yeah. My parents say I have to take French if I want to be an editor. Alex: Well, I never took French. I think knowing a second language is really useful, but I took Spanish in high school and haven't used it since. O14YOG: REALLY? Because my parents keep telling me I HAVE to take it. Alex: Then your parents are liars--errr, you should take French anyway because it's a lovely language!! O14YOG: Okay, thanks, bye!
First of all: I'm impressed a kid had the balls to call an actual publishing house to prove her parents wrong. Secondly: WHY DOES THE FRONT DESK KEEP SENDING ME CALLS LIKE THIS? I wonder if the thought process is Child Calling -> Send them to the Children's department -> Send them to the first Editorial Assistant listed. Thirdly: OMG! Her parents are such liars!!!
Anyway, so there's a casting call floating around for a TV show that could be called, but isn't, "Who wants to be a book editor?" They're casting people who want to work in the industry as, duh, editors... but I can't seem to figure out why anyone thought this was a good idea. A lot of magic happens here in publishing, but most of it involves the aforementioned thousand little things and sitting at your desk. And getting up from your desk to walk materials down to managing editorial or publicity/marketing, before sitting back down at your desk again. Honestly, I can't imagine anything more boring than watching someone try to come up with flap copy or reading through countless magazines to try to scout for a new writer or potential book idea. Liz Burns and I were joking on Twitter that this really WOULD be all about the casting--because, come on, you could totally imagine Hussy Wannabe-Assistant going at it with I-Read-Catcher in the Rye-When-I-Was-Six-And-Use-Big-Literary-Words Assistant, right?
Though, to be honest, I really enjoyed the show Running in Heels when it aired. The reality show followed three interns at Marie Claire over a summer as they navigated scary intense magazine people and their own crappy writing skills. But, let's face it, the magazine world is a lot more glossy and fast-paced than the book world is.
What would you guys like to see out of a publishing reality show? I'm thinking it would be REALLY cool to follow three or four "big" (competing) books at different houses from acquisitions to cover design to publicity/marketing to release. Then again, I am a huge dork, so this idea would probably not be cool to anyone else.