Below is advice I have gotten from people I have interned for. To get this precious information I had individual meetings with them and came prepared with questions. I recommend that every intern in any industry do the same (see my previous post for more of my tips). I can’t directly quote specific people, because I’m not sure who said what exactly. Some advice might contradict others, so take what you like and leave the rest.
~In small publishing houses, there is more time to work on books and edit (not distracted by emails from marketing, publicity, sales) and the list is smaller.
~It is possible to find small presses outside NYC. Look here
~ Publishing jobs are small pay, but a lot of work. This individual said she would stay at the office until 7pm and edit books on the weekends.
~Publishing is a career not a job.
~Editorial assistant jobs are a lot of administrative work, but necessary to get the foot in the door.
~ Take a business class, so you can “speak the language.”
~Always be polite, well dressed, and well put together.
~Have a good attitude and be pleasant to work with.
~Be willing to do the work that no one wants to do.
~Earn the trust and confidence of your boss by doing everything you are asked to do and doing it well.
~Always come in to the office on time.
~To work in publishing, it is essential to stay in New York. Chronicle is in San Francisco, but if you leave where can u go?
~ Similar to a comment above, this editor said she often takes work home nights and weekends. She needs absolute silence and focus to edit and the office is too distracting.
~This same editor said that ideas for books come from her and the connections she makes. She rarely buys manuscripts from agents. (That is the case for a design book imprint though and probably not true for general fiction imprints).
~Organization is very important. Find what system works for you.
~If you work in a large company, you will come across a lot of people, some unhappy. If anyone says something mean to you, don’t take it personally. (Here I can directly quote) learn to think like this, “That person is a fucking asshole and when they speak I hate every word that comes out of their mouths, and I sit and listen, but then I move on.”
~Get ahead on work before you come into the office. So, when you come in you can relax and spend time on lunch and chats with people
~An editor’s job is dependent upon relationships with people so be nice.
~Always think forwards, backwards, and in the present.
There’s more! Here is part 2! Thanks for reading!