- "Everyone Needs an Editor": Mates of State
- "Unwritten": Natasha Beddingfield
- "The Book of Love": The Monotones
- "Ed! It! Or!": Dan Melchior
- "Book of Days": Enya
- "Bookstore Girl": Common Shiner
- "Paperback Writer": The Beatles
- "No More Words": Berlin
- "The Book I Read": Talking Heads
- "Every Picture Tells a Story": Rod Stewart
- Anything by the Editors
- "Every Day I Write the Book": Elvis Costello
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Her advice is solid and exactly what I would recommend:
- Learn about career options other than teaching.
- Take classes in other, more marketable areas to supplement your literature major.
- Get an internship.
- Join related professional associations.
- Get a related part-time job.
- Find a mentor.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Their advice is interesting and helpful (if not a little superficial--but it's a newspaper article, after all). It made me think how easily this could be done on other campuses. If you're a student interested in publishing, go to your college career center and ask whether they can bring in an alum (or two or three) to give a presentation on the subject. Maybe you can even volunteer to help set up and publicize it. (Something for your resume!)
There's a lesson here for those of you who already have a job in publishing, too. Why not volunteer to go back to your alma mater and give a presentation for the students in the English and journalism programs? Your university will be grateful (but don't be surprised if they start asking for more—like hiring students as interns, buying an ad in their publications, or being a sponsor for a job fair). It's also a wonderful networking opportunity. It can never hurt to get chummy with your former school's career staff. They often are aware of job vacancies suitable for older alums.
I do practice what I preach. I've spoken to University of Evansville students about publishing careers (although just informally in a class). I also met recently with their alumni/careers liaison when she was in town and I told her I'd be willing to come back again and speak about publishing careers and critique some resumes (I think I've read close to 5,000 of them in my years as a resume-book editor—and I am not, as Dave Barry says, making this up).
Friday, October 26, 2007
It's been an awesome thing for her. She gets to visit friends and family and see all sorts of new places. This week, however, word came that she is in the San Diego area as the flames approach the house she is sitting. She has the great responsibility of saving what she can of her client's possessions (and her cat) if the flames get too close.
We have been anxiously awaiting updates. This morning she e-mailed a link to her blog, where you can keep up-to-date on her current saga and read about some of her past exploits.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I dunno. On one hand, this could be a boon on those days when you're not feeling well or were up at all hours with a teething toddler. But something like this seems like it would be easy to abuse--on both sides. Hungover slackers might take more than a short cat-nap. Employers might use the priviledge to justify asking people to work extended hours. I think I'd rather just get my work done and then go home and sleep in my own bed.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
That's all well and good. But what you're probably most interested in is their Jobline. Although it's not super-active (maybe just a few posts a month), reading the older postings gives a really good picture of the companies in the Chicago area, their jobs, and their hiring requirements.
The CBC's big event for the year is coming up in just a few weeks. The 56th Book and Media Show is an awards ceremony, exhibit, and dinner celebrating the outstanding quality of publishing in the central U.S. and Canada. It's November 8 at the Chicago City Centre Hotel.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Industry experts are always making the point that a grocery store can't send back unsold food to the farmer, or unsold fashions to the factory. So why does publishing have this singular albatross to bear? The mythology goes that it started in the early part of the last century, when Simon & Schuster decided to offer a returns option to booksellers in order to convince them to take a chance on crossword-puzzle books. And the fact that it continues to this day is testament to the relative power of the retailers.
I always try to be upfront with my authors about how returns work. They might be excited that Barnes and Noble, for example, has initially bought 600 copies of their book (commonly referred to as "sell in"). But six months later, if some of those books haven't sold to customers (referred to as "sell-through"), they'll be coming back in droves. This means that the authors won't be getting as much money in royalties as they thought they would. And really, not much makes them angrier.
I encourage my authors to get out there and promote the heck out of their books in the first few months, because the traffic they can drive to the stores largely determines whether bookstores will be ordering more copies--or sending back the ones they bought.
And some industry insiders say that if your returns rate is too low, it means you're not getting enough books out there. True, we sell a lot more books to the trade now, with a returns rate of about 25%, than we did when our returns rate was more like 5 or 10%. But ouch, it hurts.
As a publisher, I am biased on the issue. Returns should be abolished, or at least limited. The ability to return books willy-nilly absolves bookstore buyers of the responsibility of ordering in sensible quantities. It eats into a publisher's profits and an author's royalties. And it leaves a carbon footprint the size of Belgium.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
In honor of Boss's Day this week, I wanted to share some tips for working with difficult bosses of all types. These tips come from our book, First-Job Survival Guide. One of the authors, Diane Decker, is here this week presenting at JIST's job search seminar. She's an organizational effectiveness coach in Chicago.
In your working life, you'll have all different sorts of bosses, from ones who partner with you for success to those who make your life miserable just because they can (for example, Michael on "The Office"). You can learn something from all of them. Here are the authors' tips for making the best out of some of the most common bad-boss situations:
What to Do if Your Boss Is a Poor Performer
- Write short reports summarizing your accomplishments and send them to your boss and other relevant team members.
- Find ways to use your talents to offset your boss’s weaknesses.
- Stay alert for open job positions within the organization.
- Establish or strengthen a network to help you stay in the flow of communication.
What to Do if Your Boss Doesn’t Communicate
- Meet with your boss and have a list of questions you would like answered, with the reasons the information will help your results.
- Keep your eyes and ears open to learn needed knowledge from the informal network.
- Try using e-mail and assess how your boss responds.
- Talk directly to the recipients of your work to learn what they need.
What to Do if Your Boss Shows Favoritism
- Accept that some people will click together better than others.
- Look for a mentor to give you career guidance and coaching.
- Ask your boss what he or she expects of you, and regularly seek feedback.
- Focus on improving and maximizing your own results, rather than concerning yourself with the favorite employee.
What to Do if Your Boss Is Hard to Pin Down for a Meeting
- Send a short e-mail or voice-mail message when you need an issue resolved or a question answered.
- See whether your boss is available over lunch or a cup of coffee.
- If you have a problem or issue, come forward with various solutions or options and your recommendations.
- Request short meetings, send your agenda ahead of time, and come well prepared.
What to Do if Your Boss Takes Credit for Your Work and Ideas
- Acknowledge your boss’s contributions to your success.
- Share your concerns with your boss about others’ awareness of your results.
- Keep track of and publish a summary of your goals and accomplishments.
- Actively look for a career mentor to provide guidance and coaching.
What to Do if Your Boss Is Unapproachable
- To increase your understanding of the situation, identify the possible cause(s) for this behavior.
- Stay communicative and interact positively with your boss.
- Use nonconfronting language to let him or her know what you notice and its impact on you.
- During a meeting with your boss, identify common concerns and challenges, share your perspectives, and offer assistance.
What to Do if Your Boss Looks Over Your Shoulder
- At the beginning of a project, ask your boss what he or she would like his or her role to be in the project.
- Instead of waiting until the end of the project, or when your boss comes to you, schedule regular project updates.
- Proactively communicate to help instill confidence in your ability to manage the details.
- Regularly communicate barriers and the ways you are addressing them, to help prove your abilities.
What to Do if Your Boss Has a Large Number of Direct Reports
- Ask your boss his or her preferred method of communication. Be concise and clear in what you share.
- Tell your boss what is going well and the ways you are addressing your challenges.
- Identify ways to stand out from the crowd of subordinates--look to expand your role in a way that can help reduce your boss’s workload, or forward articles of relevance with a short note.
What to Do if Your Boss Pits Direct Reports Against Each Other
- Share your concerns with trusted peers, and decide to work together collaboratively, despite your boss’s behavior.
- Go to your boss and share your concerns with the culture that has been created, what you would suggest, and the reasons it would be an improvement for the organization’s results.
- If you stand alone in a desire to change the culture, determine whether you are willing and able to stay and endure your boss’s regime.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I wandered the Sheraton's meeting areas for a bit looking for our group and ran into the national conference of the American Legion. They were having a gala ball and the live band was in full swing, a clarinetist blasting out Bing Crosby's "It's Been a Long Time." It felt like 1945 (although how would I know? My parents were babies then).
Then I chatted with author (and friend of this blog) Laurence Shatkin, who thrilled me with his tale of living in London in the summer of 1969 (the infamous "Summer of Love"). At that point in time, I was the baby.
And then I got to sit next to JIST's copywriter, Selena Dehne, who was a baby when I was in my Wham-influenced glory days in the UK myself. I envy her youth and freedom and all the possibilities ahead of her.
I guess the conclusion of all of this is that we all go through the same stages in life, just on a different schedule. Although the four generations I hobnobbed with last night think they don't really understand one another, deep down I think they do.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
And speaking of helping, everyone here has been doing a little something to nudge the book's sales along. One person convinced a local independent bookstore to order several copies, while others went back and bought them. Another person is working on convincing Borders to carry it on their "local authors" shelf (since they inexplicably decided not to stock it chainwide). I'm planning to nominate it for a Cybil bloggers' award for young adult fiction. And when Dave appears at the Carmel Barnes & Noble in December, we'll all turn out and make him look important.
And here's one more pitch: If you are looking for a gift for the young adult in your life, consider Standard Hero Behavior. It's like Lord of the Rings with a smart-aleck twist. I can even score you an autographed copy.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Numbers I have to consider include the following:
- How many copies of the book we will print.
- How many copies we will sell.
- What the book's cover price will be.
- How much of a discount will the bookstores take.
- How much it will cost to edit, design, and print the book.
- How many copies the bookstores will send back to us in the end.
- How much money we'll spend on promoting the book.
- What royalty we will pay the author.
- What commissions we'll pay the salesperson.
After several years in the same market, it became almost instinctual. Sometimes we didn't even do P&Ls for every book because we could pretty much guess they'd do OK. And they did.
But now we've got a new owner, and we're trying to enter a new section of the bookstore. So I've turbo-charged our rickety P&L to do calculations over the life of the book, not just the first year. And I was also trying to do best-case, worst-case, and middle-case scenarios. I was up to my eyeballs in numbers. And the conclusion is this: My new book will either lose $12,000, make $1.2 million in profit, or something in between. (My money is on the in-between!)
As someone who entered publishing for the sheer love of the written word, I can't believe I'm the one in charge of all these numbers. It's like the time in middle school when they put me on the math team because I had all the math definitions memorized. (I was also a cheerleader, if that gives you any further idea of the caliber of our class.)
Monday, October 15, 2007
For those of us who worked for Macmillan USA for several years in the '90s (when it wasn't being called Prentice Hall, Paramount, Simon & Schuster, Pearson, and whatever else), this is bound to bring a twinge of fond remembrance. We were on top of the computer and reference book world, and the energy of that place and time were just amazing. But things change, corporations fall apart, recombine, and reemerge. Names get used and reused until really, what meaning do they have? Holtzbrinck is betting that people will still associate the name Macmillan with a solid, world-dominating publisher.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Thanks to freelance editor Gayle Johnson for letting me know about this one!
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
For $60 you can rub shoulders with the likes of Linda Wells, editor-in-chief of Allure magazine, and Kristine Welker, VP and publisher of CosmoGIRL!. Although the event is geared toward broadcast and periodical (magazine) media, I'm willing to bet you'd learn something and make some great connections.
Register for the conference here.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Are you ready for the next step in your career? In this position, you will plan, coordinate, and edit new and revised workbooks, textbooks, instructor's guides, and instructor's CDs focused on career and education topics.
Responsibilities include the following:
- Research and propose new products.
- Find and contract with authors and work-for-hire writers.
- Read and evaluate proposals.
- Work with authors and staff on product concepts, outlines, schedules, and specifications for new and backlist titles.
- Work with authors to develop book content.
- Collaborate with freelancers, production manager, graphic designers, and other staff to ensure targeted product creation on time and within budget.
Position requires excellent writing skills, good interpersonal skills, time management, creativity, self-direction, and initiative. Please respond with a cover letter and resume.
Compensation: Please include your salary requirements. We cannot consider candidates who do not give salary information.
OK to highlight this job opening for persons with disabilities
Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
Please, no phone calls about this job!
Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
For one thing, it makes for some wonderful networking opportunities. (Are you tired of hearing me harp about networking yet? Get used to it--it's here to stay.) But an even more tangible side effect is that when a potential employer googles you (and studies say more and more of them do it all the time), if you post to your blog regularly, your posts are likely to come up in the first page of results. And as personal branding expert Kirsten Dixson says, it's better to be able to control what people see about you online than to let them dig up any "digital dirt" on you.
So try it out: Google yourself. Do you see anything horrifying--or worse, nothing at all? Better get busy with a focused and well-written blog!
Monday, October 8, 2007
For some reason, networking seems to be a dirty word among job seekers. It always seems to conjure up images of an unctuous and insincere old dude glad-handing everyone in the hopes of getting something from them. But the truth is that networking is all about giving help as well as getting it. And experts claim that up to 80% of people find their jobs through networking. So it's worth giving it a shot, isn't it?
Michelle Tullier is Vice President, Career Transition Consulting, for Right Management in Atlanta. She's written several books on finding a job (including Networking for Job Search and Career Success, from JIST), and shares some networking tips she compiled especially for college students. Making time to network is crucial to your future career success, she maintains.
- Get involved in campus and professional organizations.
- Attend professional conferences related to your career goals.
- Be a leader in a campus organization.
- Make classes count: Use class projects as a reason to talk to people in the business world.
- Connect upward with faculty and staff.
- Get to know alumni.
- Use your campus career center or guidance office.
- “Shadow” someone on their job.
- Be an intern.
- Help out in your community.
- Go on fact-finding missions to get information about the career fields you’re considering and to establish relationships.
- Conduct career strategy sessions with a mentor or contact.
- Broaden your cultural horizons through a study-abroad program.
- Diversify your activities.
- Start a job search club to share leads and resources.
- Don’t hesitate to enlist the assistance of relatives.
- Use the Internet to find information and network with people.
- Have a resume whether you think you need it or not.
- Have a business card.
- Find role models.
- Take advantage of public speaking opportunities.
- Publish an article.
- Learn and practice good time management habits.
- Get in the habit of writing thank-you notes.
- Start a portfolio that provides evidence of your skills.
Friday, October 5, 2007
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Those of you in the know might be asking: "Isn't it a bit early to be leaving for the fair? It doesn't start until next Wednesday!" True. But Jason always takes full advantage of his trans-Atlantic flights and tacks on a few vacation days to go someplace he hasn't been before. Great stories always ensue, such as the time he escorted three Swedish women around Dublin, met Ron Jeremy in the hotel bar in Barcelona, and was a guest at a big, fat Greek wedding in Athens. This time he and his coworker Shawn are heading to Helsinki, Finland, and Tallinn, Estonia. He got some funny looks wearing his wool sweater and coat onto the plane, when it's like 90 degrees here today!
He's promised to be our Frankfurt correspondent and send me some "content" for the blog. But we'll see. Usually he's so busy he barely has time to access his e-mail.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Monday, October 1, 2007
How did you get your job? What education, experience, and skills do you have that made you a good candidate?
I found my job approximately a year after I finished college. I had been searching for an entry-level position in publishing and nothing seemed to be coming along. But then one day, I applied for the position of Editorial Assistant after seeing it posted on CareerBuilder. Shortly thereafter I received a call from the HR department. I came in for two interviews and then was offered the job. I think the fact that I had my Bachelor's degree in English Language and Literature definitely helped me to land this job. I had also taken courses in college on editing for print and had experience using the Chicago Manual of Style. I also believe that being a good writer is a very important trait to have in this industry, and my degree in English definitely helped me in that respect.
Did you have to take an editing test?
Yes. Usually when you apply for an editorial job within the publishing industry you can expect to take either an editing or proofreading test of some sort. I took a couple of tests that consisted of various proofreading exercises.
What are your job responsibilities and what is a typical day like for you?
Well, there really is no "typical" day for me. Each day is different because my job consists of so many various responsibilities. My job also involves juggling multiple (and often competing) projects and priorities. I provide support to 8 team members, so my days can be very hectic at times. Some of my job responsibilities are administrative, such as distributing mail, scheduling meetings, making copies of various documents and manuscripts. But I also am involved in the editorial process, as well. I work closely with the editors and assist them with such tasks as coordinating manuscript peer reviews, conducting market research, and writing publishing proposals, or what we call "pub packs," which are presented before our publishing committee. Additionally, I serve as the team's reprint permissions editor. This means that when another publisher or an individual wants to reprint our copyrighted material elsewhere (such as another book), they need to seek permission from ADA to do so. I am the person who reviews their requests and then either grants or denies permission for them to reprint our materials. This role involves at least a basic knowledge of copyright law, as well as good interpersonal skills because you have daily contact with various publishing companies and the public.
Tell us about the ADA. What types of books do you publish and how many per year? How many people work in your office?
The American Dietetic Association (ADA) is the nation's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA serves the public by promoting optimal nutrition, health and well-being. ADA members are the nation's food and nutrition experts, translating the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living.
The Book Publishing team at ADA creates books that are mainly by and for our members. The majority of what we publish is professional reference materials for Registered Dietitians (RDs) on topics such as diabetes and weight management. However, we do publish some client education materials, including CD-ROMs with print-on-demand handouts, brochures, and booklets. We have also partnered with larger publishers (e.g., John Wiley & Sons) to publish consumer books, such as cookbooks. Additionally, we have an online, subscription-based diet manual called the Nutrition Care Manual (NCM). On average, we publish 8-10 new titles per year.
As I mentioned before, our team consists of 9 people, including myself. The positions include the
- Manager of Acquisitions and Development
- Development Editor
- 2 Production Managers
- Editorial Assistant
- Publishing Manager, Electronic Products
- NCM Sales Manager
- NCM Sales Assistant/Customer Service Representative
What advice do you have for others who might like to find a job at a professional association's book publishing office?
The advice that I would give someone who is interested in working in book publishing at an association or other non-profit organization is to be prepared to wear many hats because the team tends to be much smaller than at a traditional publisher. This can be a good thing, though, because you get a bird's eye view of the entire publishing process that you wouldn't necessarily get at a traditional publishing company.
What are your favorite blogs and websites for people interested in publishing?
Besides "Publishing Careers," some of my favorite blogs about publishing are
- Joe Wikert's Publishing 2020 Blog
- Beneath the Cover
- Chris Webb on Publishing, Media, and Technology
- Future Perfect Publishing
- The Jaldous Journal
These blogs offer great information about book publishing, as well as the new technologies that are changing the industry.