Archives: Editors

Presentation at Lucinda Literary/ WeWork's offices - Fulton Center.

On Thursday evening, we hosted a presentation on publishing for The Fresh Air Fund’s job shadowing program. Fresh Air is an amazing organization founded in 1877 with the simple intention to give inner city kids the experience of “fresh air”–at summer camps far from the streets of New York. Since then, it has become more like a family, offering children and their parents all kinds of educational resources throughout the year, and closely monitoring kids to ensure they stay on course to graduate college.

As part of the presentation, we created the short quiz below to discover which job in publishing was best suited to their personality traits. Take it yourself, or share it with young people curious about publishing careers, and tell us below the post how accurate you found your results.

What Job in Publishing is Right for You?

Choose just one answer for every question.

Choose the best quality combination to describe your personality from those below:

  1. Dreamy/Creative
  2. Thoughtful/Introverted
  3. Articulate/Passionate
  4. Talkative/Social

When you were little you wanted to be or were most drawn to the careers of:

  1. Artists
  2. Teachers or doctors
  3. Lawyers or CEOs
  4. Singers or Actors

You often find yourself:

  1. In your own world: observing people and imagining their lives
  2. Reading and helping friends with their schoolwork
  3. Socializing with other people, where you are often the storyteller of the group
  4. Browsing the internet, watching television and movies, communicating with friends

What interests you most in a career is:

  1. To leave something important behind for generations to come–a legacy
  2. To help others
  3. Learning about business and making money
  4. Working in a fun, fast-paced, social environment

You feel happy and stimulated when:

  1. Expressing yourself
  2. Giving feedback to others
  3. Helping others solve problems
  4. Positive feedback and rewards

You feel [fill in the blank] way about money:

  1. It doesn’t really interest you beyond the minimum you need to live your life
  2. You’d like to make a good living
  3. Making money is very important
  4. It’s more important to have a fun and fulfilling job than to make money

You feel [fill in the blank] about rejection:

  1. It hurts, but it won’t ever stop you from putting yourself out there.
  2. You find you’re able to make a rejection when necessary in a polite way.
  3. You can deal with it.
  4. It’s the worst thing ever.

It doesn’t bother you to:

  1. Be alone for hours in the day
  2. Do detail oriented work. You like the feeling of progress!
  3. Discuss or deal with money
  4. Talk to strangers. You can always find things in common with people!

keep-calm-and-check-your-answers-9

Mostly 1’s? Your personality is well-suited to be a writer.

Author

You are imaginative, creative, like to observe others, and are happy being in your own world—which is essential for all the hours you’ll need to spend writing if you have a career as an author!

 

 

Mostly 2’s? You could be a book editor!

Editing an English language document

You really thrive helping others (as you would be helping writers), and you have a natural strength for long, detail-oriented work, which will be necessary for all the manuscripts you’ll be editing.

 

Mostly 3’s? The best role for you in the publishing industry could be as a literary agent.

Lit Agent

Like editors, you enjoy helping people, and like publicists, you are social creatures, but your passion for business differentiates you from the rest of the pack.

 

 

Mostly 4’s? Book publicity would be a great career for you.

talk_to_my_publicist_jadedstarlet_couture_tank-rdf89eb12ed6b4c649346c38a680f4610_8nhmp_324

You love people, entertainment, and pop culture and are always in the know about news and trends. Working in a fast-paced environment and booking media for authors will bring you joy and immediate satisfaction.

Marketing yourself to find an agent or marketing your book to find a reader are two sides of the same coin. All the same rules apply. If you’re weak on either side…the journey becomes much more trying.

An agent can usually see marketability in a proposal right away. Does this book fall within a greater context of other books that have fared successfully? Is there a clear reader for this book—is that readership wide enough? Is the author well-regarded or well-connected? Where is the evidence of future readers?

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Books are made on word-of-mouth.
At least those books that receive critical acclaim or top the bestseller charts. Think The Help or The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and countless others.

This is more than publicity. This is the unquantifiable magic of human capital. No matter how much you spend, it can’t really be predicted.

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Being an agent is living with a sense of death-threatening urgency. All my life I was told: “simmer down, what’s the urgency?” “take a chill pill” (that traumatizing childhood experience), or, my father’s famous line, “Your urgency does not qualify my emergency.”

When I became an agent, my boss told me one of the reasons I was hired was on the basis of my urgency. It wasn’t the first time I was reminded of the famous Alanis Morrisette song.

Today, I wanted to share this eCard that speaks to the agent (and writer and dater) experience, particularly when on submission with a proposal. I know many of you relate.

There’s a first rule in becoming an agent: “learn how to manage your client.” This is true of any entertainment agent: when you are invested in someone’s longterm career, you need to allow your client to dream big in the creation process but moderate expectations in the fulfillment of that dream with conservatism, and guide clients to detach themselves from their work as more parties are involved. And encourage that they detach themselves again when they become, as so many artists, the subject of criticism or enjoy the celebrity of fandom–the majority of well-recognized authors experience both, in equal part.

But what about managing your agent or your editor?  Read more »

I was speaking with a young friend of mine, an artist and aspiring children’s book writer, about his day job: the one that pays the bills, and a necessary evil for most creatives. I’ve encountered three types of people in my life. The first are those who grow up with a hardworking parent — by hardworking, I mean a hospital doctor, a successful banker or lawyer, a diplomat, or a parent who worked multiple, more menial jobs to make ends meet. These children tend to follow in those footsteps, often making great sacrifices, because hard work and often, the compensation for it, was the greatest value they were taught. As the great filmmaker Michael Apted said, quoting a Jesuit proverb, about his now famous 7 Up series, “the coal miner’s son becomes the coal miner.” To a large degree, don’t you find this true in yourself, in those you know?

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Categorized: Authors and Writers

I heard it then when I started in book publicity at HarperCollins, and I still hear it as a consultant 8 years later.

The author asks: “Does publicity translate to sales?”
And the publisher responds: Not always.

“Am I going to get the Today Show, the New York Times, and NPR?”
Unlikely.

“Then, what is feasible?”
Well, unfortunately, it’s sort of wait-and-see.

“How do I increase visibility?”
Start a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account. Here’s a template to guide you through it. (This answer is new, and even the question is, because it was understood the publisher would do everything!)

“Do pre-orders help? Special sales?”
Yes.

“How are you handling these?”
Please direct your question to  xxx@publisher.com and he’ll be happy to answer!

As devoted as publishers are to the books they acquire, the industry, in the last few years, has seen fewer acquisitions of debuts and “mid-list” (not quite bestselling) titles. Publishers are still gambling on the rare blockbuster bestseller: which means the books with the most commercial, often those written by celebrities and not writers, per se, are given the most investment in the ramp up to publication day. This means all remaining titles can fall to the wayside, and this can be hard to swallow; challenging even for those authors paid a substantial advance and naturally expecting that “the love would be there” come launch. with in-house publicists particularly good in approaching radio and television connections for appropriately “big” (i.e. controversial, political or celebrity) books. These publicists turn to proprietary media lists, which they figure, if these outlets worked for one book, should theoretically work for the next book in a similar category. But this is a paint-by-numbers approach. There’s rarely time to craft a comprehensive promotional strategy in the short lead time to publication when, given production time, finished books have just hit your desk. There’s negligible bandwidth to listen to an author’s specific ideas, to manage those expectations, or even to leverage an author’s particular connections, possibly the best resource authors have to promote themselves.

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With a bit too much time on my hands one day recently, I decided to conduct a poll on the most overused terms in the industry. Fortunately, the exercise proved fun, if not helpful: the 10 editors and agents I asked must have been procrastinating too, or eager to vent their job frustrations, have a cathartic laugh among colleagues feeling the same pain, because I received 10 responses in the span of 5-10 minutes. (I want to hear yours, too!) Here they are:

platform
electronic
price point
platform
“spec it up”*
a buck a book **
platform
zeitgeist
voice
“show don’t tell”
fresh
accessible
heart-wrenching
stunning
platform
sexy
mediagenic***
positioning…
and platform

Anyone see a trend?

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