Saturday, September 08, 2007

one tiny little vicious entry about my industry and then I won't being it up again for a long time

Good morning! It is 8:54 am in New York and I am set up in my home work space for the long haul (probably at least 5 or 6 hours this morning) because I have a freelance editing assignment that is due this afternoon.

The reason I have a freelance editing assignment due this afternoon is because even though I graduated with high honors from what might be considered a rather good university and even though I speak 4 languages and can tap dance and bake a mean hazelnut pie and even though I spend at least 65 hours (on my LAZIEST weeks!) slaving away with pure and joyful dedication to my books and my authors (I'm not factoring time I spend blogging at work here. Those figures would look a little different.) I don't actually make enough at my job in a month to pay off my basic bills (rent, metro, phone, gas, electric, three 15-year college loans). Well, actually, Robert recently gave me a small raise, so I do. I just clear even.

However, as you may have noticed, I have a small (and occasionally expensive) ethnic food habit. (Never mind the book habit. Does not bear looking into.) And I think a girl's only entitled to her one vice, wouldn't you say?! ;)

The point is, it's not like Robert's a big jerk because he pays me and my colleagues so little. THESE ARE EDITORIAL SALARIES. Everywhere in the industry.

According to PW's annual report, this year an editor at the peak of his/her career (at the PEAK) can hope to make $51,000 dollars a year. Now keep in mind that person is a full-grown adult who probably has to live in New York City (after all, this is where most of the jobs are). Subtract living expenses. $51,000 is above the poverty line, it's true, but remember that a) this is a GOOD PEAK CAREER scenario--many editors make rather less! and b) an adult living in NYC on those financial limitations has had to make some sacrifices (for example, the idea of ever having a family or a nice wardrobe or a trip to Italy). Unless they have been extremely fortunate and have mined themselves a filthy rich husband/wife/life partner, your editor is livin' small.

Ok. I'm off my soapbox now. Back to my second job.


Alex P said...

London PR salaries [at least for first few years] aren't so hot either [again industry wide rather then my agency in particular]. I too am sat workign on a Saturday, and share your pain. Good whinge, well made I'd say.

Ron Hogan said...

We can help you indulge your ethnic food cravings on a slightly smaller budget in Queens. Sripriphai on a late afternoon, before everybody who discovered it in Zagat's shows up wanting dinner, is a godsend.

The Writers' Group said...

Perhaps all of those happy writers should send their darling editors gift certificates to fabulous restaurants, rather than another fruit basket. Your thoughts?


moonrat said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Ron. I am rather fond of Queens.

Jill Myles said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jill Myles said...

Hey, can you delete my comment? I re-read it and realized I sounded a bit like a pompous ass. Nice, that.


moonrat said...

hahaha you didn't come off as a pompous ass at all but i deleted it anyway.

we dont NEED anything from our authors--most authors don't send any kinds of gifts for any occasions--but let me tell you it's pretty exciting when you do.

another thing that you can do that costs NOTHING (to you, anyway)--when you're in town, call your editor and ask if you can go out for lunch. then the editor will be able to have a nice meal on the company dime (this usually falls within the realms of expense-able things!). plus you get a free nice meal too.

Anonymous said...

I am not surprised to hear the wages are crap for editors. I think they know they have you guys by your love. You love books, and you love the work. I observed the same sort of pay scale for non-profits, and that the staff stayed because the job meant something to them. (Of course, non-profits do have to budget themselves fairly stringently.)

Jill Myles said...

Yeah, I worked at a CPA-payroll type job with a specific client list for many years. I never expected anything for Christmas, but when I got presents, I was like, OMG SOMEONE LOVES ME! It really does make your day.

I figure the least I can do is make someone's day in return, right?