Friday, February 29, 2008

Exciting New Book in the Making--Need Your Input

So yesterday I was chatting with Kelvin Sampson's agent on the phone. No, really, I was. Molly Fletcher of Career Sports & Entertainment represents the embattled former IU coach and hundreds of other top baseball, golf, coaching, and broadcast personalities. And it just so happens that she's also written a career book.

Molly decided to write the book because she's constantly called upon to share her advice with young people about how she landed such a "dream career" and how they can do it too.

The book is coming together nicely and will be part of our fall 2008 list. There's just one problem: We can't all agree on what to call it. The front-runner right now is

  • Big-League Careers: Five Tools for Landing the Job of Your Dreams

The people who don't like that title say that it might make people think this is a book about careers in sports, rather than advice that will apply to all high-profile careers that young people aspire to. What do you think? I'm open to any and all suggestions about how the title should be worded.

So why, you might ask, is someone with all this clout working with a small-timer like JIST? Molly is all about relationships, so she did her networking homework and found out that JIST not only specializes in career books; it also has a personal touch and a philosophy that is much like that of the agency she helped build. And, all modesty aside, she wanted to work with me. She talked with enough of my authors to know that I will do a good job with her book and treat her well. (My mom is more proud of this than of anything else I've ever done in my life.)

Now, about Kelvin. She hasn't told me much about his situation and I haven't asked, because I don't want to know. All I know is that if anyone can help him salvage his career, it's Molly. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Technology Is a Beautiful Thing

I had a wonderful surprise when I got to my office this morning. Apparently the IT fairy was here overnight and brought me a new flat-screen monitor!

This is a quantum technology leap, because if you recall my entry from last July, you saw that I was dealing with a gigantic, paleolithic-age CRT monitor. Such is life at a small, independent publisher. Were we still family-owned, I doubt I would have been upgraded until the old dinosaur just up and croaked.

This will be a relief to my friend Gayle, who suggested that my old monitor was probably the cause of my eyestrain, which resulted in first-time eyeglasses. She went further to suggest that perhaps my old monitor should have met with an "unfortunate accident" during our move to the new building last summer (kinda like those people in the car commericals who casually push a rock over a cliff and crush their old jalopy).

But patience has paid off and I have vaulted into the 21st century. Thanks, IT fairy!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

CIPA College: Education and Networking in Colorado

I was alerted to the upcoming CIPA College publishing education event through this article on the Denver Post's YourHub site. CIPA stands for Colorado Independent Publishers Association, and it's a lot like the Publishers Marketing Association, but on a more local scale.

March 27-29, experts from across the nation will gather in Denver to present classes on all aspects of book publishing. Of particular interest are the "newbie" sessions, which offer a grounding in the basics of the business.

Even though the event is geared toward aspiring authors and self-publishers, I believe an aspiring publishing professional could learn much there--not to mention the fantastic networking connections that are possible. So if you are in the area, consider investing a few hundred dollars in this worthwhile event.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Are You Addicted to the Internet?

I've been home today with a sick kid. It's amazing how you can fritter away an entire day at home without really accomplishing anything (other than the potentially nasty turkey meatloaf I'm about to put into the oven). Part of the reason for that is my incessant tinkering online: checking e-mail, reading blogs, checking LinkedIn for new connections, and trying to come up with something to blog about.

So it's only fitting that I reference a good blog post I read at CareerHub earlier this week. Professional resume writer Billie Ruth Sucher contributes this post on Internet addiction. She even includes a link to a scientific assessment that can tell you whether you're addicted.

Seeing as how I start to twitch if I go without checking my e-mail for more than an hour or two, I figured I'd better test myself. The results said that I have good control of my Internet usage. Oh yeah? Well, maybe I wasn't completely honest with this quiz. Try it yourself--and try to be as honest as possible.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Complete CMS Survey and Register to Win a Tote Bag!

I don't know about you, but a Chicago Manual of Style totebag is one piece of swag I could definitely use. So I took a few minutes this morning and answered their call for people to fill out a survey about how I use the CMS.

Mainly, they focused on a few select sections of the style manual (which is pretty much the standard style guide that book publishers follow). First they asked whether I had ever used the section. If I said no (which I did for the section on grammar--that stuff is usually factory-standard for editors), the survey skipped to the next section of interest. If I said yes, it wanted more specifics about which part of the section I used. Then it wanted to know my job title and contact info. I gave it all to them because I want that tote bag!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Naming Your Book: The Hardest Part of Publishing

Seeing this article today about the world's oddest book titles got me thinking. Coming up with a good book title is hard--darn hard. A lot more goes into it than meets the eye. And yet, it's the single most important marketing factor of the book.

Of course, when an author sends in a book proposal, he or she has already given their book a name. Some authors are adamantly convinced that this is the one and only title their book should have. Others realize that book publishers always have to tinker with titles and are open to the publisher's changes.

Naming a book is a delicate balance between grabbing someone's attention (for example, Fish!) and conveying what the book is really about. Sometimes you can use the main title to grab and the subtitle to explain (as they did with Fish!'s subtitle: A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results).

In this Internet age, you must always be conscious that the book title and subtitle include the main "keywords" that someone would have in mind when looking for a book on your subject. When someone goes to Amazon and types "morale," they get Fish!. So you have to get inside your customers' heads and think what they will be searching for.

Too often at JIST, because we have been oriented toward plain language and simple thinking, we have avoided the "grabber" part of titles and stuck with the facts (is there any doubt in your mind what Gallery of Best Resumes is about?). The few times we've tried something cute have usually backfired on us.

But without that hook in a title, it's hard to get the media excited about it. So we're experimenting again with a "grabber" title, and this time putting a lot more marketing muscle behind it. The PITA Principle: How to Work with and Avoid Becoming a Pain in the Ass hopefully gets your attention and then explains what it's about. I'll be talking a lot more about this book in the weeks and months to come. If it doesn't sell, I'll be back to doing nothing but trying to find new ways to say "a book about writing resumes" (and maybe even writing my own!).

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Plan Now to Attend PMA University

If you want to learn the basics of how book publishing works, you'll be in Los Angeles in late May, and you've got seven or eight hundred bucks to invest in your professional growth, I can highly recommend that you attend PMA University this year.

This educational event is sponsored by the Publishers Marketing Association, the leading trade association for independent publishers (anyone from the one-book self-publisher to major organizations that still haven't been gobbled up by a conglomerate). It features 80 classes in eight "tracks":

  • Advanced

  • Internet

  • Editorial and Production

  • Sales

  • Marketing

  • Publicity

  • General Publishing

  • Finance

  • Legal

I attended PMAU back in 2002, and it's where I got the foundations for everything I know about negotiating book contracts. The opportunity for networking is splendid as well. Check out the program of classes and you, too, will be scrambling to figure out a way to attend. (If you're going to Book Expo, PMAU cleverly dovetails with that major event.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Publishing Careers Gets Excellent Blogger Award

What an honor! Loyal reader Katharine O'Moore-Klopf of EditorMom has given me the Excellent Blogger Award. Being still somewhat wet behind the ears as a blogger, I'm not sure of the origin of this award. And some random Googling was no help. What I can gather is that once you've been given it, you have to give it to 10 other bloggers. So here are my nominees:

  • The career experts at CareerHub always have excellent and useful things to say.
  • Penelope Trunk at The Brazen Careerist is just plain insane. But she's a fun and provocative read, and there but for the grace of god go I.
  • Shawn Graham at the Courting Your Career blog is an excellent writer with great advice. He also blogs for Fast Company.
  • The Rejecter is a literary agent who blogs with advice for aspiring novelists. Love that snark!
  • Krisan Matthews is doing a fantastic job with her Publishing Curve blog.
  • Our friends at TSTC Publishing's Book Business Blog always have good information and lively writing.
  • HR Wench quit her job and is looking for another. It's fun to read what an HR person experiences on the other side of the table.
  • Evil HR Lady is in the same vein but seems to focus more on answering reader employment dilemmas.
  • Recruiting Bloggers is a very active place with the headhunter's POV (and it's not always PC).
  • I'm still enjoying the "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks. Who knew there was so much poor punctuation in the world? I've sent her my own entry and am waiting for it to possibly show up there.

The only reason I didn't include Joe Wikert on this list is that Katharine already gave him the award, too. But his is the first blog I read every day, and it's always a source of inspiration and awe.

Now, if I was a good blogger, I'd e-mail all these people and let them know.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

One Day, One Job Profiles Heldref Publications

I found this cool site, One Day, One Job, that profiles a different job/company every day. Over the weekend they featured Heldref Publications, a nonprofit book publisher in Washington, D.C. The profile tells about the history and workings of the company, mentions a job opening for a proofreader, and tells you how to apply directly to a real person there.

I've put One Day, One Job on my feeds to see what other jobs and companies will come up (although they are not always publishing jobs). I also advise you to look through the list of past posts for more company profiles, including Random House,, and Better World Books.

And this week they announced a new sister site called One Day, One Internship, which does the same thing with a different internship each day.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Hiring Secrets from Random House HR VP

Happy Monday! I was happy to find the following info this morning from Book Business magazine online. Random House VP and Director of Human Resources Hays Steilberg shares some secrets about the company's hiring and retention philosophies. Most significantly:
  • RH searches "the relevant networks and talent pools" for "talented and motivated individuals."
  • "New hires must bring a technological affinity and skill set, regardless of their particular hiring destination."
  • RH supports autonomy among its employees and works hard to help them balance their jobs with their lives and keep their skills honed and up-to-date. (No wonder Book Business ranked them as the "Best Publisher to Work For" in its 2007 survey.

It does sound like a great place to work! Steilberg will be a panelist at Book Business' Publishing Business Conference & Expo March 10-12 in New York City, where he'll share more secrets on what makes a great workplace.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Off Topic: Happy 100th Birthday, Elmer V.!

We're leaving momentarily for a weekend in my hometown of Evansville to celebrate my grandpa's 100th birthday. His longevity is a subject of amazement to us all, including him.

Words cannot express how I cherish this man. He's been a warm, kind, generous, calm, and no-nonsense presence thoughout my entire life. I usually get creeped out by old people, but he's still just grandpa to me.

Born into poverty in Evansville in 1908, he spent his youth in a roughneck neighborhood and watched his parents divorce at an early age. He married my grandmother when he was 18 (and she was 16), and the two rose to middle-class respectability through his steady work at Servel, a local manufacturer, and her retail jobs. They lived in the same house for nearly 70 years, until my grandmother died and he moved to a retirement apartment (not a nursing home, mind you).

He has been amazingly healthy and lucid, and the doctors always ask him what his secret is. He tells them that he never smoked, didn't drink excessively, and took walks every day (even today he strolls the corridors of his apartment). But he loves fried taters and pork chops, so I always use him as an excuse for my own french fry fetish.

My favorite story was several years back when he was at the mall, walking. An older gentleman sat down beside him in a bench and asked, "So, what did you do in the war [WWII]?"

"Nuthin'," he answered. "I was too old."

"Too old!" the man exclaimed. "I thought you were my age!"

Turns out, the guy was 15 years younger.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The London Book Fair Is Coming Up

The annual London Book Fair, described as "the global publishing community's leading spring forum for booksellers, publishers, librarians and book production services worldwide," will happen on April 14-16. That might sound like a long time from now, but it really isn't, especially for the participants. Jason has been busily booking appointments with customers (foreign publishers) since December.

I visited the fair two years ago during its semi-disastrous move to the ExCel Centre in the far-east Docklands area. It took a long time to get out there via subway and light rail. And then we had to wade through muddy parking lots to get back to the train afterwards. Everyone complained, so this year it's back in central London at Earl's Court.

When I say "visited" above, that's what I meant. I just wanted to see the fair, since Jason goes every year. JIST does virtually no foreign business, so there's not much for me to do there professionally. I spent the rest of the days visiting friends in Stamford, tracking down ancestors in Cambridgeshire, and taking the Magical History Tour of Liverpool while Jason worked. Then I'd come back to London in time for fabulous dinners with his foreign clients (the best was at Levant). What a vacation--it totally rocked!

So I'm thinking of going back this year. Jason's trip includes a few days in Moscow, and I don't want to miss that. We have Russian-speaking friends who will be there to help us, so I think this is the year I should go. I know many readers urged me to go to Frankfurt, instead. But it's London, folks. And Russia. I'm really leaning toward going. Guess I'd better decide soon--I have to apply for my Russian visa!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Freelance Switch: Advice and Jobs

I've just run across the blog at Freelance Switch, a site with all sorts of advice for freelancers of all sorts (not just writers and editors). The post that attracted me was the results of its survey of 3,700 freelancers around the globe. You can read some of the results on the blog; with a donation of a few dollars, you can get the full report.

In addition to the blog, the site features

This is a great place to get ideas and advice for conducting the business side of freelancing: getting clients, getting paid, and more.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dating Skills That Work Well During Interviews

Love is in the air this week, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to share some advice from one of my favorite career books, Courting Your Career. Author Shawn Graham is Associate Director of the MBA Career Management Center at the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School. He's written a fun but powerful little book on how getting a job is a lot like looking for a mate.

Here's an excerpt from the book that relates the most important interviewing skills to the most important dating skills. (And hey, get your mind out of the gutter. This is a G-rated blog.)

When you’re dating, you need to possess certain skills if you’re going to have any success. These skills include active listening, communicating, time management, persuasion, negotiation, judgment, and decision making. As luck would have it, these skills also work well during your job interview. Let’s look at each skill to see how and why they’ll play a role during your interviews (as well as your search as a whole).

  • Active listening: Giving your full attention to what the other person is saying, nodding, asking questions as appropriate, maintaining eye contact and open body language, smiling, and not interrupting when he or she is speaking are the keys to active listening. Being an active listener makes your interactions with others, both when dating and when looking for jobs, more effective. It increases your chances of making a genuine connection with the person you’re speaking with. In a romantic relationship, being an active listener means not staring at the TV when your boyfriend or girlfriend is trying to talk to you. During a job interview, being an active listener means maintaining eye contact, taking limited notes when necessary, and verbally and nonverbally acknowledging what the other person is saying.

  • Communicating: If you’re not able to communicate with others effectively, you’re not going to get very far on the dating scene or the job market. Being an effective communicator involves not only what you say, but also how you say it. During a job interview, hand gestures, body movements, facial expressions, and posture can be just as important as the words coming out of your mouth. For example, if a woman asks her boyfriend whether her jeans make her look fat and he says "no" but rolls his eyes, he’s in hot water.

  • Time management: Being able to balance time with your loved ones, work, outside interests, family, and so on isn’t something that happens by accident. You have to prioritize tasks and sometimes make difficult sacrifices. The same holds true during your job search when you have to squeeze in time to get ready for an interview or write a bunch of cover letters when you already have a ton on your plate. Identify those things you can postpone and those things you can’t.

  • Persuasion: Persuasion goes hand in hand with negotiation. Say you’re in the mood for a movie and your girlfriend or boyfriend wants to play miniature golf. Your ability to persuade your date to change his or her mind will determine whether you’ll be eating popcorn or heading for a water hazard. Your ability to persuade an interviewer that you are the right candidate for the job will go a long way in determining whether you get an offer letter or a rejection letter.

  • Negotiation: Anytime you’re dealing with other people, you’re going to have differences. Negotiation is part of the give-and-take process of any relationship, whether you’re negotiating for more money when you receive a job offer, or you’re negotiating with your boyfriend or girlfriend about the possibility of relocating after graduation so that you can go to graduate school.

  • Judgment and decision making: Two people who can never make up their minds probably won’t end up dating for long. After all, they’d probably never be able to figure out what they wanted to do or where they wanted to eat. During your job search and when you ultimately land a job, your judgment and decision making are critical. Which suit should you wear to your big job interview? When offered two jobs, which one is the better fit?

You use the preceding skills every day when you’re dating someone. The more you’re able to master these skills and exhibit them during your job search, the more success you'll have in finding your dream job.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Anniversaries Aplenty

Forgive me if I get all maudlin on you. I'm just the kind of person who likes to mark significant days, even if they're really no longer significant. Today I've got three somewhat important anniversaries on my mind:
  • The 17-year anniversary of my first day in book publishing. So much has changed since I sat there at my DOS-based 386 PC, sharing a cubicle with the publisher's assistant and wondering just what I had gotten myself into. But I'm still drinking my hot chocolate out of the same mug, a farewell gift from a former co-worker at my very last crummy job. I call it a talisman.
  • Saturday was exactly one year since EMC took over JIST. I was telecommuting that day and the COO and my boss later called to tell me what had happened. I literally shook from fear and excitement over the unknown--both the good and the bad possibilities. A year later I still think that was a valid response.
  • It's also been a year since I launched this blog. I had been thinking of it for a while, but the merger sort of lit a fire under me. I felt like I needed to be doing something proactive, constructive, and creative. I can truly say it was one of the best moves I ever made. I have so truly enjoyed connecting with so many people and being able to help them. I also love having a creative outlet and an audience. Without blowing it too far out of proportion, you are my muses, and I am grateful to you.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Publishing Careers Gets NY Times Mention!

Well, sorta. Actually, New York Times columnist Marci Alboher mentioned this blog in her NYT-sponsored blog on Friday (read it here). Her blog, which is excellent, is called "Shifting Careers." It's all about "the newfangled ways we are custom-blending careers."

So how did this come about? Back in late January, Marci made a call for "day in the [work] life" bloggers to let her know about their blogs in the comments section. I saw it as a perfect opportunity to spread the word about the Publishing Careers blog. I left a short comment telling about this blog and including a link. She was true to her word and checked out all of the blogs that were suggested to her in the comments. She linked to most of the ones that were genuinely relevant.

Of course, you'll always see someone trying to get more readers for their blog by mentioning it in the comments of a high-traffic blog. Often their blog is just barely relevant, or maybe not at all. Marci even mentions this phenomenon later in her Friday post. She says, and I agree, that this sort of publicity seeking is a real turnoff. But on the other hand, if you follow other blogs carefully and wait for your golden moment, as I did, it will pay off for you. Also, there's nothing wrong with contributing to blog conversations and being genuinely helpful, with the only mention of your blog being the link attached to your signature.

Now, as for the net effect of being mentioned on Marci's blog? Publishing Careers had a great day for a Friday, but it wasn't a record-breaker. There's the possibility that a lot of people will read her post on Monday and come by for a visit. Monday is always this blog's biggest day in terms of traffic, so let's see what happens! I'd love it if we could get a lot of new people to join our conversation here.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Wiley Internships

Looks like Wiley is gearing up for the summer internship season already. Yesterday the company officially posted the internships to its job openings site. I can't emphasize enough how important an internship can be for getting relevant experience to put on your resume.

Here's the description (the punctuation is theirs, not mine):

John Wiley & Sons, Inc. offers a structured ten-week summer internship program for students typically between their junior and senior years of college who aspire to careers in the publishing industry. Cited in the Princeton Review's America's Top 100 Internships as one of the best internships available for students, the Wiley program provides students with the opportunity to gain practical work experience and learn from publishing professionals.

Internship assignments exist in a variety of areas within the company such as Marketing, Editorial, Production, Information Technology, New Media, Customer Service and Publicity, and are based at our corporate office in Hoboken, New Jersey (just across the river from Manhattan), at our distribution center in Somerset, New Jersey, at Wiley's locations in San Francisco, California, Indianapolis, Indiana and in Malden, Massachusetts. The program combines on-the-job training with seminars and group luncheons.

Internship programs are available throughout the year. The summer program offers a weekly stipend and runs from May through August. If you are interested in applying for an internship, submit a letter addressing why you would like to be selected for the program and areas of interest along with a resume. Summer internship applications should be submitted by April 1.

To apply for a Wiley internship, please use the following contact information or visit Wiley’s U.S. Career Site, choose a location and submit your resume indicating an interest in our internship program:

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Internship Program
Human Resources Department
111 River Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
Fax: (201) 748-6049, Attn: Internship Program

US Distribution Center-USDC
Attn: Internship Program
1 Wiley Drive
Somerset, NJ 08875-1272
Fax: (732) 302-2300, Attn: Internship Program

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Jossey-Bass, Pfeiffer & Sybex imprints
989 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Fax: (415) 433-5015, Attn: Internship Program

Wiley Publishing, Inc.
10475 Crosspoint Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN 46256
Telephone: 317.572.3000
Fax: 317.572.4001, Attn: Internship Program

Wiley Publishing Inc.
Commerce Place
350 Main Street
Malden, MA 02148
Telephone: 781.388.8200
Fax: 781.388.8210, Attn: Internship Program

Wiley is an equal opportunity employer, committed to attracting and retaining a talented and diverse workforce that will allow us to compete effectively in a diverse, global marketplace. We are further committed to fostering a work environment in which all colleagues are valued and can enjoy professional success.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Are You Interested in Indexing? by Cheryl Lenser

Many thanks today to Pearson indexer extraordinaire Cheryl Lenser for providing this detailed and interesting look at the job of an indexer. She's been at Pearson for as long as I can remember, and she's one of the best indexers I know!

I rather lucked into the publishing field, mostly because I couldn’t find a library job in central Indiana. Library jobs are really hard to come by! I have a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in library science, with the thinking that that would get me a good job in a place I enjoy. However, I ended up taking an administrative assistant position in a healthcare facility until I could find something more in line with my education. As it happened, my now ex-husband was hired as a proofreader at what was then Macmillan Computer Publishing. That sounded intriguing to me, plus I knew that MCP was hiring by leaps and bounds, so I sent my resume in, intending to apply for a proofreading position. Someone saw “Master’s of Library Science” on it, so they forwarded my information to the indexing department. I was sent an indexing test, took it, and was hired a month or so later. Aside from one class in library school, which thoroughly confused me, I had NO IDEA what indexing entailed. Good thing MCP offered six weeks of production department training (primarily page layout, but also a good amount of proofreading and indexing) at the time! I’ve now been with Pearson (MCP was bought by Pearson several years ago) for nearly 13 years as an indexer.

Book indexing comes in two different “flavors:” embedded and standalone. Embedded indexing means putting tags into documents before the final folio (page numbers) is set. Standalone indexing means getting final pages, either as hardcopy or PDF, and writing the index from those. I do primarily embedded indexing because it fits into our workflow better—the indexing can be done earlier in the production process and doesn’t have to wait until the last minute before the book is printed. [See the end of this post for a breakdown of the two different types of indexing.]

Indexers spend the vast majority of their time working in front of a computer screen. Basic computer skills are a must; the only software skills required are Microsoft Word and possibly specialized indexing software, at least for those doing standalone indexing. Embedded indexing requires proficiency in whatever software the publisher wants the indexing tags inserted into. At Pearson, that’s usually Microsoft Word, although it sometimes requires QuarkXPress or Adobe InDesign.

In addition to computer skills, indexers need to have excellent reading comprehension skills and organizational skills. Indexing requires reading a text and determining the major themes and all the little bits of important information in that text. Then the indexer must figure out what index entries to write to best serve the reader who wants to find information in the text. The indexer’s job is to serve as an advocate for the reader, both the potential reader and the returning reader.

Finding an in-house indexing position is an ideal way to learn how to index, but that happens very rarely. Most publishing houses (except for some computer/technical publishers) use freelance indexers who write standalone indexes. Many freelance indexers are either self-taught or take an indexing class through the USDA Graduate School ( or the American Society of Indexers (ASI) ( The preeminent book on indexing is Indexing Books, Second Edition by Nancy Mulvaney (University of Chicago Press, 2005), although there are also many other good books for learning indexing. Check the ASI website above or to find recommended books on indexing.

If you’re interested in learning more about indexing as a profession or learning how to index, check out the ASI website, subscribe to an indexing mailing list (many are listed on the ASI site), read as many indexing books as you can (Mulvaney is a great start), and practice indexing your own books at home or books borrowed from the library. It usually takes a long time to get established as a freelance indexer, but once you have a few published indexes you’ve got a great start on a career.

Embedded Indexing
  • Can be done at any of several different stages in the production process
  • Tags in the files can be re-used if the document(s) is published in a different format (online, ebook, revised edition, etc.)
  • Requires use of whatever software the source files use, usually Microsoft Word although can also be done in Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress, Adobe Framemaker, among others
  • Depending on the software, the indexer usually cannot see the index as it’s being built but must instead keep the index structure in his/her head or written on paper

Standalone Indexing
  • Must be done after the book is folioed (has page numbers)
  • No tags are embedded in the source files; index is completely separate from rest of book
  • Requires use of dedicated indexing software for all but the most basic of projects
  • The “index-in-progress” is fully visible in the indexing software

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

MediaBistro Offers Online Editing Class

High-profile editor Gaylord Fields is teaching an online editing class through MediaBistro titled "Grammar, Punctuation, and Meaning," starting February 25. The class meets between 9 and 10pm ET for four Mondays and costs $350. You can tell the instructor's got a sense of humor, because he ends his bio with this:

And while Gaylord has a definite opinion on use of the serial comma, he saves such discussions for parties.

What's cool about this class is that you can live anywhere and get a nice thing to put in the Education section of your resume. The class includes posted lectures, assignments, and weekly chats for the class as a whole.

MediaBistro has a varied selection of other courses to check out, such as intermediate copy editing, intermediate PR, and how to pitch articles to magazines.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Introducing Our New Editor: Aaron Black

Our new editor started today. He's Aaron Black, and here is the introductory e-mail I sent out about him yesterday:

Join me in welcoming JIST’s newest editor, Aaron Black, who starts tomorrow. Aaron comes to us from Pearson/Penguin, where he has been proofreading Complete Idiot’s Guides. Previously, he was an indexer for the Sams and Que computer book imprints at Pearson. Aaron’s varied background also includes stints at Nicholas Ellison Literary Agency in New York and the University of Phoenix, as well as several years as a department manager at Barnes & Noble. Aaron is a graduate of Butler University, where he majored in English literature and creative writing.

Aaron’s official title is Associate Development Editor, and he will be specializing in trade and workbooks. You can find him in the cubicle next to Aleata’s. Welcome, Aaron!

We've spent the morning so far going around meeting people and getting his computer set up. I had to fill out an I-9 form for him proving that he's not an illegal alien. In the process I discovered that he and I share a birthday (albeit 12 years apart). Is that not freaky?

So now I've turned him loose on his first project. It has been sitting on the floor of my office for a month, just waiting for him. I'm so relieved to have help getting through the backlog!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hurry Up and Wait: Why It Takes So Long to Publish a Book

Rachel Donadio had a spot-on article in yesterday's New York Times. She investigates the question as to why, now that technology makes producing books so much faster, it still takes so long to get a book on the shelf. The answer is that it still takes the same amount of time to market the book and build buzz for it.

Here in Indianapolis, we've been masters at speed publishing for nigh on 20 years now. We all cut our teeth at Macmillan Computer Publishing and IDG, where you had to have a book on the shelf the same day the software was released. Those books had a shelf life of about six months, so any delay was just money lost.

When several of us came to JIST, we brought along the speed and efficiencies of electronic publishing that we learned in the computer book salt mines. But eventually we learned there was a flaw in that system: Our trade books didn't have time to be marketed. With a shelf life of three to five years, we could afford to slow things down a little.

So I built an extra six weeks into the schedules and we started producing "bound galleys," or advance reader copies, to help promote our books and get reviews. And it helped quite a bit. We also stepped up our PR game considerably and are regularly scoring big media mentions.

The NYT article hints that the Internet is helping to accelerate buzz-building a bit. But I think for now, the best approach is to plan well in advance and not rush anything to market. It's really rare that a news event might persuade us to speed things up (unless Obama has a resume book up his sleeve).

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Graphic Designer Job Outlook

In response to Stephen Tiano's query, here are the OOH stats on employment outlook for graphic designers--much the same as for writers and editors:

Employment of graphic designers is expected grow about as fast as average. Keen competition for jobs is expected; individuals with a bachelor’s degree and knowledge of computer design software, particularly those with Web site design and animation experience will have the best opportunities.

Employment change. Employment of graphic designers is expected to grow 10 percent, about as fast as average for all occupations from 2006 to 2016, as demand for graphic design continues to increase from advertisers, publishers, and computer design firms. Some of this increase is expected to stem from the expansion of the video entertainment market, including television, movies, video, and made-for-Internet outlets.

Moreover, graphic designers with Web site design and animation experience will especially be needed as demand increases for design projects for interactive media—Web sites, video games, cellular telephones, personal digital assistants, and other technology. Demand for graphic designers also will increase as advertising firms create print and Web marketing and promotional materials for a growing number of products and services.

In recent years, some computer, printing, and publishing firms have outsourced basic layout and design work to design firms overseas. This trend is expected to continue and may have a negative impact on employment growth for low-level, technical graphic design workers. However, most high-level graphic design jobs will remain in the U.S. Strategic design, the work of developing communication strategies for clients and firms to help them to gain competitive advantages in the market, requires close proximity to the consumer in order to identify and target their needs and interests.

Job prospects. Graphic designers are expected to face keen competition for available positions. Many talented individuals are attracted to careers as graphic designers. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree and knowledge of computer design software, particularly those with Web site design and animation experience will have the best opportunities.
Graphic designers with a broad liberal arts education and experience in marketing and business management will be best suited for positions developing communication strategies.

Writer and Editor Job Forecast

The bread and butter of the careers business is the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which is compiled every two years by the U.S. Department of Labor. The new edition has just hit the Web. (If you prefer the printed version of this tome, you can get yours from JIST in March.)

Meanwhile, a major part of this reference is about the future demand for all 280-odd jobs it lists. So I thought it would be interesting to see what they are predicting for writers and editors. Looks like the news isn't bad. But it's not a virtual employment bonanza, either.

Employment of writers and editors is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations. Competition is expected for writing and editing jobs because many people with the appropriate training and talent are attracted to the occupation.

Employment change. Employment of writers and editors is expected to grow 10 percent, or about as fast as the average for all occupations, from 2006 to 2016. Employment of salaried writers and editors is expected to increase as demand grows for web-based publications. Technical writing, blogging, and other writing for interactive media that provide readers with nearly real-time information will provide opportunities for writers. Print magazines and other periodicals increasingly are developing market niches, appealing to readers with special interests, and making Internet-only content available on their websites. Businesses and organizations are developing newsletters and websites, and more companies are publishing materials directly for the Internet. Online publications and services are growing in number and sophistication, spurring the demand for writers and editors, especially those with Web experience. Professional, scientific, and technical services firms, including advertising and public relations agencies, also are growing and should be another source of new jobs.

Job prospects. Opportunities should be best for technical writers and those with training in a specialized field. Demand for technical writers and writers with expertise in areas such as law, medicine, or economics is expected to increase because of the continuing expansion of scientific and technical information and the need to communicate it to others. Legal, scientific, and technological developments and discoveries generate demand for people to interpret technical information for a more general audience. Rapid growth and change in the high-technology and electronics industries result in a greater need for people to write users’ guides, instruction manuals, and training materials. This work requires people who not only are technically skilled as writers, but also are familiar with the subject area.

In addition to job openings created by employment growth, some openings will arise as experienced workers retire, transfer to other occupations, or leave the labor force. Replacement needs are relatively high in this occupation because many freelancers leave because they cannot earn enough money.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Get Paid to Interview for Jobs?

You heard me right. There's a new online job search site called NotchUp that claims that through them, companies will actually pay you to interview for their jobs.

Sound ludicrous? Well, maybe it's not so far-fetched. There's a whole industry of people whose job it is to convince "passive" candidates (those people who already have a job and aren't really looking) to interview for jobs that they have been hired to fill. So maybe putting a price on the time it takes to interview for a job was inevitable.

Speaking of the price, what might that be? On this site, you get to name your price. They even give you a calculator to help you figure out what to charge based on your industry and years of experience. For example, they're telling me I should charge $200. Go ahead, I'm listening...

The catch, of course, is that you have to apply to join NotchUp, or be invited. So they're probably not going to accept you unless you are a highly desirable candidate that the company might want to hire. That increases their chances of getting paid their fees.

So, this could be just another gimmick that fades away fast, or it could be the next big thing.

Thanks to HR Wench (a human resources professional who clearly has not drunk the corporate Kool-Aid) for mentioning NotchUp on her blog.