Sunday, June 29, 2008

Amazon's Hiring Fair in Indiana

Amazon's new distribution center in Indiana is at least two years away from being up to full speed, but already the company is working hard on putting together the staff. This past weekend they had an open house for hourly positions (see an article about it here, in which it mentions that people were turned away for not bringing a resume, among other documents).

It's also illuminating to see the management positions currently being recruited for online:

Nothing really related to publishing or editing--a lot of bean counting (or book counting) and tech stuff, though.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Gawker: 9 Ways to Scratch and Claw Your Way to the Middle

This lengthy and enlightening article on Gawker pretty much says it all when it comes to the media employment scene in NYC. The nine ways it offers up for getting a media job in New York are as follow:
  1. Be a Temp Slave!
  2. Freelance
  3. Have Some Totally Important Connections Already (In Which Case You Wouldn't Even Need to Ask)
  4. Start a Blog
  5. Referrals
  6. Intern (or Don't Intern)
  7. Buy Your Job!
  8. Gain Experience in a Smaller "Market"
  9. Miscellaneous Advice

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Help a Reporter Out: A Window into Media Trends

A month ago, I discovered Peter Shankman's Help a Reporter Out mailing list (yes, purists would say it should be "Help Out a Reporter," but then he'd lose his HARO acronym). More than 11,000 reporters and publicists subscribe to the list, which sends out media requests for sources two or three times a day, prefaced by a big dose of Peter's highly energetic personality.

I joined the list initially to see whether there might be some opportunities for my authors to serve as expert sources (and get their books mentioned in the article). And I have seen several stories that they might be good sources for. But mainly I'm just being entertained and educated by it. It's fascinating to see the kinds of stories that reporters are hoping to write, such as
  • Moms who don't drive a minivan (I thought I could be a source until I saw that they wanted someone with at least three kids for this one.)
  • Is your surgery on YouTube? (I certainly hope not!)
  • Celebrities with food allergies (Do tell...)
  • Your beef jerky experiences (Just watching those disturbing SlimJim commercials.)

I'm also seeing some trends emerging--lots of queries about "green" this and that, and an inordinate amount about skin care. It's also instructive to see how far out reporters are planning their stories (some are already working on holiday-themed pieces).

So check it out. Who knows what inspiration you will find!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Blondie's Take on the Master's Degree Debate

Checking back in on Blondie today at Tales from Clark Street. She's got a great post about whether you need a master's degree to get a job and get ahead in publishing. She makes some excellent points, such as the fact that people who go straight to work after college often end up higher on the ladder than those who stayed in school. She's also completely right that a master's degree isn't for everyone. And then there's that little issue about massive college debt.

I was actually thinking about this very subject on the way to work today. I think someday I might consider furthering my education; and in the future, it might just be a necessity. But for now, I'm happy with my choice to stick with the B.A. and go straight to work.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some Brit Is Stealing My Shtick

Imagine my surprise when yesterday I ran across another blog about how to get a job in publishing. I didn't think there'd be enough interest to support one blog on the topic, let alone two. But the truth is that there's room enough in the blogosphere for everyone, and How to Get a Job in Publishing comes at the question from a different angle.

First of all, Robert is in England. There's a big difference, at least superficially, between the American and British job markets. Second, he's writing from the perspective of someone looking for a publishing job. He's already got an internship at HarperCollins but is working dilligently to expand his contacts and his knowledge of the industry.

So, welcome, Robert. I hope you might find something helpful here. And us Yanks can also benefit from reading about your exploits.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Back on the Chain Gang

My mini-vacation is over and it's back to the office today. The Hand and Lemon families had a splendid little escape from reality, spending four nights at the Blue Door Cottages on the shores of Lake Shafer in Monticello, Indiana. In their defense, I will say that the cottages do indeed have blue doors. But I would have preferred a little more storage space and a lot more cleanliness. But hey, we were roughing it.

On our trip northward, we detoured to West Lafayette to have a greasy lunch at the Triple XXX, a favorite from my husband's college days down the road at Wabash. Then we visited Jason's cousin at the Methodist camp she directs and got to see the new pony named Tater Tot. Then we went to the wind farm to gawk at the hundreds of turbines.

Our first day at Lake Shafer, we rented a pontoon boat and took the kiddies around the lake all day. Day two was spent at Indiana Beach. Man, oh man, talk about Old School. But it was entertaining. Day three we visited friends of friends who own an 1860s farmhouse nearby and have yet more kids.

But now I'm back at work and I forgot to bring back my iPod dock. And we're out of hot chocolate. So I'm sitting here in silence with nothing to drink. Not a good way to start the first day back!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Local Author Has Book Signing

Local author Julie Young will be signing her new book, Historic Irvington, on June 21 from 1:30 to 2:30pm at the Bona Thompson Memorial Center. If you're in town, drop by and meet a published author with some very interesting stories to tell. Julie says everyone's welcome!

Unfortunately, I can't go because we're leaving now for a mini-vacation. See you next week!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Anatomy Book Is Printed!

Yesterday I had a lovely lunch with friends Linda Seifert and Caroline Roop. Caroline was here visiting from Boston and we hadn't seen her in four years. As a surprise, Linda brought along a copy of her husband's new book, which I helped him "Idiotize." The Complete Idiot's Guide to Anatomy Illustrated will be published officially on July 1.
Generally, because I've seen it happen hundreds--maybe thousands--of times, I'm pretty jaded about a new book coming off the press. I'll flip through it quickly and then go back to what I was doing. But this book was the focus of our extracurricular lives for close to a year. I couldn't believe it was actually done and I was holding it in my hands. And it looks awesome!
Congratulations to Mark Seifert, professor of anatomy at IU School of Medicine. You've written a work of art that will help students better understand the amazing human body. I know I learned a ton from it!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Author Solutions Career Open House This Week

My eighteen-year habit of reading the newspaper classifieds each week has paid off again. Yesterday's Indianapolis Star carried an advertisement for Indiana-based self-publisher Author Solutions' career fair. The open house will be this Thursday, June 19, at the Courtyard Marriott Carmel (10290 N. Meridian), from 4 to 8pm.

"Open house" is something of a misnomer because it's not happening at their offices (one in Bloomington and a smaller office here in Indianapolis--rumored to be in the Keystone at the Crossing area, although there is no mention of it on the website). So although you won't get a feel for the office environment, you'll still get to meet some people. The primary job they mention in the ad is Publishing Consultant, which sounds like a cross between inside sales and acquisitions. The ad says this job has "realistic potential" for a 70K/year income, plus great benefits and an amazing dollar-for-dollar 401K match (I think I'm getting a quarter per dollar on my investments here--and that's a step up from what it was before we were bought).

If you plan to go, take your resume, dress like you're going to a job interview, and eschew the promised "refreshments." You don't want to look like the only reason you're there is the free food.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Blogger Starts a Publishing Certificate Program

Happy Friday! I stumbled upon the blog of Kissing in the Grass, an editorial assistant in Toronto. She's just been accepted to a post-graduate publishing certificate program (she doesn't say where, but maybe here). It's sweet how gung-ho she is--especially to be moving out of her parents' house. I felt an immediate kinship with her, even if she is, like, half my age. She likes old punks, and so do I.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

My Resume

In a move that could be considered gutsy, narcissistic, or instructive, depending on your viewpoint, today I'm posting my resume here for you to take a look at. I love looking at other peoples' resumes and maybe you do, too.

The great thing about my current job is that I read so much resume advice that I am constantly tweaking my resume to try things out. But doing your own resume is like cutting your own hair--it's really hard to do. I know that I need to delete things from this. But I am so attached to it all that I can't bring myself to do it. An unbiased professional would probably have a deletion field day with it.

Anyway, here it is. You can click on each page to enlarge it so that you can read it.
UPDATE: I revised my resume in July 2010. You can find the new version here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What Do You Want to Know About Getting Your Book Published?

A while back, my uncle-in-law asked me to consider doing a two-hour presentation for a local lecture series he's putting together. Of course I agreed because he is so cool (and not just because he's representing us pro bono as we sue a contractor who stole a bunch of money from us).

The topic we figured would garner the most general interest is "How to Get Published." I told Uncle Ken that I could definitely cover the traditional nonfiction part of that equation. But honestly, most people who ask my advice want to know about publishing their novel--something I know very little about. And a growing option these days is self-publishing--again, something I have limited experience with. To make a long story short, I've located and met with some experts who can cover the parts of getting published that I don't know much about.

Meanwhile, I'm developing my outline for my part of the presentation. Here's where you come in: What questions do you have about how to get published? I want to be sure I'm including all the information that people are most likely to ask.

Thanks for your help! When we have dates and times set for the lecture, I'll let you know.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Another New Blog: The PITA Principle

Because I am so utterly sold (some would say "hooked") on the power of blogs, I've strongly encouraged the authors of our upcoming flagship buisness title, The PITA Principle, to write their own blog to accompany the book. So today I proudly announce the PITA blog.

So far, I'm the only one who's posted anything on it, but the authors will soon join me in celebrating the various types of "pains in the ass" that we all have to deal with at work, as well as sharing coping strategies. Of course, they don't let us off that easy. We can't go around labeling other people as PITAs without taking some ownership of our own PITA tendencies. So the book includes an assessment to determine your own PITA type (I am a Sealed PITA--comes with the territory of being a perfectionist) and ways to mitigate your pain-in-the-ass tendencies and therefore advance your career.

So come visit us at the PITA blog. And if you work with a pain in the ass and can come up with a clever, sandwich-related term to describe their behavior, send it to us at and we'll post it (and you can be anonymous!).

Monday, June 9, 2008

Loyola's Apprentice House Gives Students Publishing Experience

My feeds turned up this interesting little article at about Apprentice House, a student-run book publisher at Loyola College. (By the way, this is the Loyola in Maryland, not the one in Chicago.)

What a fantastic experience for these students! As part of their classes, they learn about acquiring, editing, designing, and marketing books. Very cool.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Author Solutions Expands Again in Indiana

The parent company of self-publishing giants iUniverse, Author House, and Wordclay is moving even more jobs to its Bloomington, Indiana, headquarters (read the IBJ report here). I blogged in January that the Nebraska operations were coming to Indiana. And now 140 jobs are coming here from China. Yes, you read that right--China. So now it's looking like a (do the math, do the math) 420-person operation in Indiana.

According to the article, the new jobs will be in creative, technical, and sales areas. Jobs posted on their site right now include

As I said before, it looks like a great way (especially for new IU grads, or maybe even students working part-time) to get some publishing experience.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Need Your Opinion on a Book Cover

One of the disconcerting things about my job is that sometimes, after we work really hard to come to consensus about a book cover internally, the sales reps take it out to the chain bookstore buyers and come back with negative feedback. It's always a delicate dance trying to please everyone and stay true to the original vision.

But let's face it: The buyers know their customers. So we have to listen to them. Nonetheless, I'd like to get your opinions about the cover for Be Your Own Agent by Molly Fletcher--especially if you are in college, a recent graduate, or in the first five years of your career.

Questions I'm asking are the following:

  • Does this cover appeal to you?
  • What age group do you think the book is for?
  • Does the photo of the author make you like the book more, or less?
  • Do you like the colors?
  • Can you tell what the book is about?
  • Would you consider buying it?
  • How could this cover be improved?

Thanks for your help with this!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Top 10 Trade Publishers in America from Michael Hyatt

This week, Thomas Nelson CEO Michael Hyatt updated his list of the top 10 trade book publishers in the U.S. He gets his data from the company's proprietary database, which is based on several different sources. So I think it's got to be more accurate than BookScan, which has some holes in what it covers.

Here's his list:

  • Random House (15.9% market share)
  • Pearson (11%)
  • HarperCollins (10.6%)
  • Simon & Schuster (9.3%)
  • Hachette (6.2%)
  • Scholastic (5.2%)
  • Thomas Nelson (4.7%)
  • Holtzbrinck (4.4%)
  • Tyndale House (1.9%)
  • Wiley (1.9%)

I was surprised to see Pearson so close to the top because I think of them primarily as a textbook publisher. But Jason reminded me that they have Penguin. I was also surprised to see Wiley as far down as it was. I somehow had an impression that they were much bigger. But just keep in mind that all of these companies are megaliths made up of many of the biggest imprints and brand names that you know by heart.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Me Holding a Kindle

While Bezos was wrapping up his much-jeered Book Expo speech that turned into a canned Kindle promo, I was approaching the Amazon booth on the floor. The day before, I had spent a little time playing with the gadget that hopes to change reading as we know it. But I had forgotten to get a photo.
An Amazon rep asked if he could help me. I told him I just wanted a picture of me holding the Kindle for my blog. "You're not going to run away with it, are you?" he asked, and I sensed he was only half kidding. "You're not going to run away with my camera, are you?" I shot back. Geez. You can see the incredulity is still on my face in the photo.
So, what did I think? Well, I like it. I can read the text okay. I love the portability. It was a little yucky when it scrolled to the next page, but I hear you can get used to that. But even with the new price break, tree-fitty is a bit too spendy for my tight budget. Get it down to $199 and I'll buy one.

Monday, June 2, 2008

More Tales from L.A.

My boss, associate publisher Sue Pines, and I flew out to L.A. Friday morning, dropped off our luggage at the hotel, and headed for the fair. We spent most of that day walking the floor of the two halls, taking note of trends and bumping into celebrities such as the eternally tanned George Hamilton and Baba Wawa herself.

It was hard to ignore the distinct absence of attendees. I've never seen the aisles so free of people. In a way it made it a more pleasant experience because we didn't have to fight crowds and could see so much more in a shorter time span. But then I wondered what the poor attendance meant. Nobody wants to fly all the way to L.A.? Technology is making trade shows obsolete? Nobody can afford the trip? As you can imagine, many bloggers are today pondering the same questions and some are predicting the complete end of the show in the near future.

I'm quite certain that many publishers are asking why they spent as much money as they did to have a presence there when there were more people there trying to sell to them and nobody buying anything. To all of them, I say this: Give it another year. Attendance is always up when it's in New York (although, maybe most of them are still Manhattan editors and very few are librarians and booksellers).

Despite all this, I think it was worth our while to go. We got to spend time with our authors and "wow" them with the magnitude of the show. We connected with our colleagues at other publishers. We got direct feedback on our books from customers and experts. We got to meet our new PR agency and watch them educate our authors about media appearances. We saw famous people (and some not-so-famous penguins) and came back energized and refreshed. I'm willing to keep going if everyone else promises to do the same. Okay?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The PITA Guys Meet Jamie Lee Curtis

I just got home from L.A., and boy, do I have a lot of stories to share! I'll get started on that tomorrow. For now, enjoy this photo of the two coauthors of The PITA Principle, Dulin Clark and Bob Orndorff, who were so excited to encounter Jamie Lee in the green room before their book signing. She was gracious enough to let me take a photo of her with them, even though she was in a hurry. She even shook my hand (she must have thought we were with her publisher!).
Bob and Dulin, by the way, had an amazingly successful book signing. There's a lot of buzz building up about the book, which is so exciting to us all. I'm pushing them to start their own PITA blog, where people can share stories about the PITAs that they work with.