Category Archives: women in publishing

>Diversity

>A word about diversity on the planet of publishing: it is both diverse and not. Here at S&S, they have benefits for same-sex life-partners of employees. That seems like a good idea, because there are more gay men working in this industry than there are in some others. Although, like I said, I haven’t met many men. I hate to spew stereotypes, good or bad, but this building has a healthy measure of witty, intelligent remarks floating around which makes every day here all the more fun. So, in this way, S&S is diverse and they really cater to the needs of a population of gay people who have some different needs than straight people might.There are very few black people here, and almost no black men. I mean, there aren’t that many men, let alone getting into white men and black men and Asian men. I read somewhere, I believe it was an e-book on the publishing industry, that when young, college-educated black people began to join the professional trades, a bzillion years ago, they sought jobs which would pay the most, the earliest, in order to support their families. Whereas, those whose families were already generations in to the publishing industry didn’t need to make immediate money (parents are good at funding the beginning of a career) and could wait until they advanced in their careers to make a very good salary, as is the case in publishing. Many were women whose spouses were able to support them through the statistically low salaries that come with lower jobs in publishing. I have seen exactly one black person. She was a woman, which makes sense because the ratio of women to men here is something like 60:30. There are also not that many Hispanic people here. I have met only two Hispanic people. Racially, this workplace would seem exclusive. As though non-whites were unwanted. Except for the fact that no one here seems racist. I believe racism usually stems from ignorance and I have met exactly zero ignorant people here. But, in a city like New York, it stands in stark contrast that a good percentage of the people working here are white. Yet, they have diversity day and all kinds of banners and fliers about diversity. I guess there aren’t that many black or Hispanic or Asian people who want to work in book publishing.Please understand, I’m not discussing this because race is of high importance to me. I’m just sort of examining this workplace because I imagine I’ll find myself working in this industry after college. I think it is important to consider all aspects of an industry before building your life around it. I would love to have a very straightforward answer as to why publishing is not as diverse as other industries, but I just don’t.

>Office Hierarchy

>I’ve begun to get a handle on the hierarchy of employees here. The top-guy for financials, it appears, is the publisher. TF’s editorial and publicity offices are arranged along one very long and very narrow hallway. The publisher’s office, a huge behemoth, is situated at the end of the row in the only place which could accommodate such a big office while allowing it to have ample windows. I find it interesting that, save for one, the only man in the imprint is in the top position. Call me hysterical, call me paranoid, but I do wonder if this has anything to do with a glass ceiling. I’ve read, in more than one source, that the “glass ceiling” does not exist in book publishing because of the ratio of women to men. In a different industry, like law, for example, a woman might be prevented from emerging at the top because she needs to prove herself so much more than a man might need to. Sounds awful, sounds like fifty years ago, I know, but it’s true! Here in the publishing world, however, most of the employees are women. I have interacted extensively with not a single male. I know the names of three, as opposed to knowing the names of three times that many women. But the publisher doesn’t appear to rule over the women (and one man) under him, exactly. He appears to be a well-educated man who knows that to be a leader you must interact, cooperate and work with your inferiors. He appears to do a very good job of this. Also, the editor-in-chief, who I’ll get to in a minute, is also a high-boss, while being a woman. Down in human resources, the director (or top guy) is a woman. So I’m leaning toward agreeing with the sources that say there is no glass ceiling in publishing. At the other end of the long editorial half of the hallway is the editor-in-chief’s office which is also quite huge. The EIC is the big-girl for all things editorial. What I can’t figure out (and don’t have the nerve to ask) is who is whose boss there? I want to say that technically the publisher is the EIC’s boss because of his title, but that’s not exactly cut-and-dried. Judging by their interaction with each other, I’d say that their relationship goes one of two ways: either he is her boss and they work very, very well together (no barked orders or anything like that) or neither is the other’s boss and they are horizontally responsible for the imprint. Perplexing.Outside the EIC’s office, sits Danielle, who is my boss. I think. She’s an assistant editor, which means that she’s an editorial assistant with a bigger paycheck, only one editor to work for and the freedom to take on projects of her own. The editor Danielle works for is that EIC, and Danielle appears to have an immense amount of work to do. She also acquires her own books to edit, even though she’s technically an assistant. I believe this is because no one gets too comfy in Danielle’s position. The idea is to move up to be an editor and the EIC is helping her to do that by giving her (or letting her get for herself) a project much like those an editor will handle. Danielle is a step above an editorial assistant who rarely takes on projects of her own, but handles a lot of work for her editor. The editorial assistant I’m sitting next to, seems much less busy than Danielle and probably a little less knowledgeable. Hence, I suppose, the distinction between “assistant editor” and “editorial assistant.” I know the difference between these two titles sounds like simple semantics, but despite the subtleties, believe me, there is a big difference. Danielle seems to be a wealth of knowledge while the editorial assistant seems to be just learning. And then, of course, there’s me. I’m at the bottom and I receive work from anyone who wants to give it to me. I don’t get nearly enough work to do, but I love every piece of it that comes my way. I feel like every new task is a way for me to prove that I’m intelligent, too. I can handle these tasks. It is important to me that I impress my superiors here, because one day, when I’m out of college, I might wish to apply here as an editorial assistant so that I may continue to stare blankly during editorial meetings, absorbing all the information. If I consistently do my best in every menial task I perform, maybe they’ll remember me.

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