An Editor’s Angstful Cry Draws Mixed Reactions


By Neal Comment

clipart-exhausted-worker.jpgThis morning’s anonymous complaint about the state of publishing affairs is already drawing responses from other GalleyCat readers. “Sheesh,” countered one senior editor. “When I read that post I seriously thought, ‘okay, now is the time when you TAKE YOUR WHINING ASS HOME AND START LOOKING FOR A NEW JOB.'” Sure, this editor continues, the pay ain’t great, and houses overpay for books all the time. “But we knew that when we became editors. Or if we didn’t, we cottoned on pretty fast. If this person has stopped loving books, thinks no one reads, and thinks it’s a dying industry, why hasn’t he/she changed careers?” (Although, this source notes, people in fat-paycheck fields like finance and law are just as miserable, if not more so.)

Another industry insider is more sympathetic. “I have to agree that the profits the big mega-houses bring in do not necessarily indicate industry (or cultural) health,” this reader says. “The current profit margins are a bubble, and anyone who fails to see that (or ignores it) is foolish.” Then he zeroes in on the emotional core of this morning’s post: “I think the book industry is struggling to get good people, and it has had an effect.” He describes his own experience with receiving a $28,000 offer for an entry-level editorial position at a big house. “I thought it was a joke,” he recalls. “I’m not wealthy, I have loan payments, how could anyone in my situation accept? They couldn’t offer more, and sadly, I had to decline.” (He says his current position with a smaller publisher pays better, and comes with more experience-building responsibilities.) “I’ve met a great number of people who left publishing because it was impossible to continue,” he concludes. “I think houses need to stop expecting people to make bad decisions in their lives by taking low-paying jobs, as if they were doing the people a favor. Get the best people into publishing—they’ll be stronger, more profitable companies in the long run.”