Blame the System, Not the Bosses

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By Carmen Comment

Former Dallas Morning News book critc Jerome Weeks has plenty to say about yesterday’s LA Times piece on “publishing assistant lit” (or whatever moniker you want to use, as long as it’s less unwieldy) and how the real fault may lie in how the industry is structured: by a revolving door of assistants who aren’t likely to stick around longer than a year. While speaking with several publicity and marketing folks, “half a dozen of them told me flat-out that unless someone climbs through the system, they’ll find it hard to enter publishing because this is how publishing trains people. And it’s designed to exploit young women as serfs.”

Plus ca change, especially as the starting salaries for editorial assistants aren’t that much higher than documented by an anonymous publishing up-and-comer almost ten years ago. And change, especially on the publicity side, is unlikely, says Weeks. “It’s systemic. And it continues, in part, because publicity has little glamor or clout in publishing; most people don’t want to do it, even though, if publishers had any brains, they’d realize that marketing these days is almost the whole game.”

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