Encounters in Publishing #10 by Dianne Choie

I am annoyingly delighted to talk about my job. More than once over the years I’ve found myself in social situations where I’m surrounded by, say, lawyers and finance people (nothing is more mystifying to me than the latter; a “hedge fund” sounds like a piggy bank that you break open when you’re ready to pick up some new shrubs) and the old “What do you do?” line of questioning comes up. A spark of interest often lights up the inquirer’s eyes when I say I work in book publishing: that’s, like, a real trade! I help make stuff that people are familiar with, that involves paper and glue and ink and other stuff that magically comes together to create something you can hold in your hand.

Yeah, I’m probably a little smug about it, I’ll admit it. But the part I’m unabashedly proud of and will go on and on about without an ounce of hesitation is my coworkers. To me, the truly special thing about working where I do is the amazing caliber of people I get to hang out with every day. Obviously we all love books, but then, what kind of monster doesn’t? No, this goes beyond that given commonality. I defy you to find another industry where you can complete a scavenger hunt of people who’ve met Maya Angelou, actually finished Infinite Jest, and seen every episode of So You Think You Can Dance without breaking a sweat (or even going to more than one person, in some cases). What other group of people sends a box of books to the hospital promptly upon hearing that your mother had knee surgery, then turns around and makes a bunch of silly Vine videos to promote the release of the company’s latest thriller (which involved a lot of pratfalls, actually)? I can count on my cubemates to give their honest opinions about the book feasibility of the latest parody Twitter feed (hint: it’s always zero) and to cheer me up with fancy patisserie cookies when I’m having a rough day. They’re smart, they’re kind, they’re fun, and they’re hilarious. You may be able to afford to eat at Per Se and to not wear the same three Gap pencil skirts every week, lawyer friends, but you got NOTHIN’ on my kickass coworkers.


Dianne Choie gets paid to read books and watches TV for free. She lives in Brooklyn, which shouldn’t be surprising, and has one cat, which is even less surprising.