Monday, December 21, 2009

Self-Publishing and Editing Careers

I read your recent entry about self-publishing (and the links therein) with some interest. I currently work as an editor at a vanity publishing company. As far as I can tell, it's a relatively honest and professional one, but it's still a vanity publishing company. Will having this on my resume hurt my chances of eventually getting a job in the real publishing industry? It's frustrating to work with books that are accepted regardless of quality, but hey, the job market's tough right now, and this is a better use of my English degree than waitressing.
It might... I suppose it depends how you spin it. It's certainly understandable that you want to do something of the editing sort while you look for a job in trade publishing. Most people in editorial won't consider vanity publishing as actual publishing experience, though. If you stay caught up with what's on the market now and can prove that to a publisher, it may not count against you. It might be smart to come with a couple jokes about self-publishing, just to set the tone.

How many self-publishers does it take to change a lightbulb?
Answer: The lightbulb doesn't need to change; it's just the wrong-headed publishing industry that expects lightbulbs to shed light.


Anonymous said...

lol-- oh dear, new game!

Why did the self-published book cross the road?

Because it was too original and subtle for the side of the road it was on.

Stephen Kozeniewski said...

A man walks into a bar and orders a shot and a beer. The bartender gives it to him, he drinks it, and leaves.

About twenty minutes later the same man comes back and orders another shot and a beer. The bartender gives it to him, he drinks it and he leaves.

Another twenty minutes goes by and the same guy comes back in and orders the same thing.

Finally, the bartender says, "Look, you come in here every twenty minutes and order the same thing, but you never stay. What's the deal?"

So the man says, "Oh, well, I used to be a literary critic, but now I make my money as a vanity publisher. So every time I accept a really awful submission just for money, I come down here and I order a shot and a beer to quiet my conscience."

So the bartender says, "Well, why don't you just stop accepting crap?"

And the guy says, "Well, I'm an alcoholic, too."

Anonymous said...

Hey, it's a tough economy, so give the kid a break! At least she's trying to earn a living in New York rather than living off Mom and Dad. A recent study showed that young people who graduate from college during recessions end up with lower-status jobs and lower pay, and they keep their lower status and pay for at least 18 years.

I suggest that she try to get some free lance work that would expose her to higher quality manuscripts, help her make contacts, and pad her bank account in case her best shot at moving up is to return to school for a master's.

I know I'm not a fountain of self-publishing jokes, but it's easy to be smug when you come out of school in good times and can walk into any high-paying job. Young people now often have to choose between crappy jobs that they won't be able to move up from, or no jobs at all.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1t 5:27 a.m, I never had a job above minimum wage in my first five years out of college. This does not have anything to do with self publishing as far as I can see.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Yeah-- I'm not sure how taking a job at a vanity publisher would be WORSE than flipping burgers..

Some of them even have decent benefits.....

And it's not like she'd be able to get a job at a local paper--- most of them are CUTTING editorial staff.....

Though my advice would be to skip the publishing scene and try for a job as a techical writer/ government document editior--- more stable employment at this point, good benefits and hours, and you can always read and write in your spare time....

Just call me "Deirdre, the quasher of youthful dreams!" :)

Slot said...


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