Encounters in Publishing

Encounters in Publishing #4: 90% of Publishing, by Ami Greko

Pretty much everything about the Columbia Publishing Course was weird to me. I was twenty-four and living in a dorm again. With a meal plan. And giant breaks in the middle of the day where I was expected to sit in the sun and “study,” as opposed to my previous sunny day activity, sitting in a cubicle proofreading articles for the scientific journal Molecular Cell.

The weirdest thing about the Columbia Course, though, was our twice weekly sherry hour. They were, as far as I could tell, mandatory. There was never any sherry around, just red wine from what I suspect was a box, and those little cheese cubes that get a sort of shiny film after about five minutes out of the refrigerator.


Encounters in Publishing #3: Yes, I Work There and There, by Liz Mathews

One funny thing about where I work is that if you’ve heard of the publisher/my employer, then you’re probably a huge fan of at least one of our authors. Another funny thing is that if you’ve heard of the building where I work, that’s also probably sort of interesting in a “you get to work inside a national landmark everyday?” way.

I am happy to have a conversation with you involving the place where I work or the place where I work. Perhaps the funny thing about me is that either conversation will probably have the same ending.


Encounters in Publishing #2: Give Me a Hopeless Manuscript Any Day, by Maria Gagliano

I’ve wanted to be a book editor as far back as high school. I remember a specific conversation over coffee and chicken fingers at the diner with my friend Cheryl. I was telling her I wanted to be an English major when we got to Rutgers, and from there, figure out how to get into book publishing and become an editor.

“That’s cool. What would you do, exactly? Fix punctuation and stuff?” she asked.

“No, I think it’s, like, someone’s job to help people actually write the books,” I said. “I don’t want to get involved in grammar. No way.”


Encounters in Publishing #1: So You Want to be a Journalist, by Liz Mathews

After six years of working in publishing, and four years before that of securing an English degree, it seems obvious that taking a chemistry class makes the most sense for my life’s path. Ions and stoichiometry are the next logical step after mastering en-dashes and track changes, am I right?

It is because of this totally normal and expected transition to science that I managed to destroy my nineteen year old lab partner’s dream of becoming a journalist.


Encounters in a Bookstore #639: Have You Seen a Drunk Lady? by Liz Mathews

On occasion at the bookstore where I work, finding people who have gone missing in the store is a task that gets dispatched through the first floor information desk. For some unexplained reason, I have been posted at said info desk for a great many shifts over the past few months, and have, on occasion, had to make overheard announcements to call awareness to the missing person and the concerned party. Normally both are within the store’s walls when this happens.


Encounters in a Bookstore #636: On the Wonders of Not Being Management by Liz Mathews

Perhaps in some jobs, having a manager title is a respected and wonderful thing, implying both a larger paycheck and passing off tedious job responsibilities to the peons below. Not so at the bookstore where I work. Yes, peons still do a lot of things like shelving and answering phones. But managers are the ones that get to deal with all the real customer nonsense, and they likely don’t make that much more than I in their weekly paychecks.