Tuesday, July 31, 2007

bad day

Today has been an extraordinarily difficult day at work,

during which I have proven several times over that I am a colossal fuck-up

and made my coworkers infuriated with me for costing company dollars and hours.

Also, I have a friend who's feeling very down for silly reasons (one of which I offered to hit over the head with a cast-iron skillet or a garden hoe, her choice, but she has respectfully declined)

so we are going out to our favorite sushi restaurant and eating all these nice things I'm pasting pictures of here

and then I'll have to go to my OTHER dinner date and pretend I'm still hungry

but such is life.

I absolutely fully intend to eat all of these things.

Harry Potter in Chinese

Apparently, DEATHLY HALLOWS was translated into Chinese in TWO DAYS.

By a high school freshman!!!!

I didn't even READ the book in two days!!!

Bergman, then Antonioni two minutes later?

Film students everywhere will be wearing black for weeks.

Does anyone else detect a conspiracy?

I am an extreme fuck-up

The lead summer fiction title is a book of mine (one of the books we highlighted at BEA). We got a great PW review and promotions are set to go down next week.

Today, the production manager noticed a problem.

When the jacket mechanical was routed for me to approve, there was a 13-digit ISBN. The production editor and marketing manager have decided that going forward our books will only have 13-digit ISBNs on them. I checked all data like a good girl and approved.

When the color laser came from the printer, I checked it over to see that the changes I'd asked for had been made. They had. I didn't notice (because I'm a negligent asshole) that someone at the printer had decided that the 10-digit ISBN was missing and that that was an oversight, and that kind soul stuck in the 10-digit ISBN for us.

Only it wasn't THE 10-digit ISBN--it was the 13-digit ISBN without the initial 978.

So now we have 10,000 copies of our lead fiction title ready to ship and I've cost the company either $3,000 to sticker every copy of the book or $4,000 to reprint all the jackets. As Robert the Publisher would point out, $4,000 in overhead is equivalent to $40,000 in billable goods the sales manager will have to sell to make up for my mistake.

I think everyone is mad at me. I'm mad at me.

Monday, July 30, 2007

things I have to do

1) Edit a HORRIBLY written book that my predecessor acquired. We're on third-round edits right now. Every time I edit it and send it back to the author with queries, he rejects many of my changes wholesale ("I've decided not to go with the XXX") and also generates new copy that doesn't make any sense. I want to shoot myself.

2) Edit a book from the sucker-punch author who tried to bully me into sending him a contract for his unsolicited option project.

3) Draw up an editorially review memo for a piece-of-trash novel I actually WAS bullied into buying (oh youth, oh indiscretions and flimsiness of character!). Writing the editorial memo will involve creating a structure for the book, a plot, a concept, and some characters. For fuckssake.

4) Come up with 3 new nonfiction titles for our summer list by next Wednesday. Meanwhile, in this time of desperate need, agents keep sending me their stupid effing debut novels when I keep telling them all I want right now is nonfiction. STOP WASTING MY TIME.

Beach Day

Robert the Publisher has made an announcement (via email): this year, instead of the staff Summer Barbeque he usually sponsors, we will all be going to the beach (because my fondest wish is for my coworkers to see me in my red bikini. Yikes.).

We will be doing it "in a civilized fashion," however, meaning (apparently, according to the epistle) that we will be taking a car (a very large car, presumably, as there are approximately 15 of us) instead of the subway, and we will be "dining" at a restaurant before proceeding to somewhere classy (he recommends Coney Island).

I feel great surges of trepidation at this proposal, not least because (although Robert the Publisher does not know this) the suggested Beach Day is my birthday. Also, being Extremely White, I am allergic to the sun.

Humm. Dreadful, dreadful. The alternative being to work through that day. Oh cruel fate, how you mock me.


Moving forward.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Book Book Movement

Hi folks.

So some of you know I have a book book, in which I've written down every book I've read since March of 1999. The book book is particularly useful when trying to make recommendations to one's acquaintances or when scrounging out a birthday gift for one's father/teacher/neighbor. But on a more primitive level it appeals to human hording instinct. A means of hording experience, if you will. Much like blogging.

The point is, I've been thinking about starting a virtual book book--maybe as another blog, but preferably one that other people would participate in. It will serve both as a quick way for you to make recommendations or say your piece. Is anyone interested? I'll set up a new forum and add whoever is interested as a user. My book book entries are really short--title, author, date, general opinion (usually a line, sometimes a single word). If you want to be a user, there would be no pressure to participate--say you only read one book a year, at Christmas--awesome! You can make one Christmas entry!! Or maybe you read a book every day. Good for you! Tell us which ones you love (and which ones were vile, so we don't waste our time). I feel this is a more-the-merrier endeavor.

Please let me know if you're interested. I'll get it up and running this upcoming week, but it would be fun to have other users going into it with me.



on friendship

A shroud of bad luck still seemed to hang over him, but he appeared to be taking the news astonishingly well. "What lasts?" he asked rhetorically, as he had so many times before. Then he laughed. "Good looks, rarely. Money--never."

"And friendship?" I asked cautiously.

He fingered his mustache. "Sometimes. I suppose I'd put it in the same category as love: flawed and messy, and of questionable duration, and yet somehow irresistable."

(THE SPANISH BOW, 336-337)

Book report: Andromeda Romano-Lax/The Spanish Bow

Finally!! The book I was so excited to read after BEA! Alas for the bibliophile who works in publishing, for she shall never find time to do what she loves best.

THE SPANISH BOW is a truly rich and lovely debut novel about a Catalan cellist born at the turn of the 20th Century. Feliu Delargo, crippled at birth and raised in the impoverished wake of a fallen father, knows he is meant to play a cello the first time he hears one. The talented and unrelenting Feliu makes his way to Barcelona and then the royal palace before meeting his best friend and nemesis, a larger-than-life concert pianist and would-be composer who drags Feliu across Europe.

PW accuses Feliu of, essentially, being a Spanish Forrest Gump. And while this is true--he seems to have an uncanny knack for appearing in the right place at the right time for every major event in 20th century Spanish history to rub elbows with Queen Ena, Franco, Hoover, Hitler, Picasso, etc--Feliu is much more. His story is the winding tale of a lonely man who must negotiate his own rigorous ideas of right and wrong in a society where scruples are not rewarded.

The book is masterfully researched and leaves you fulfilled on many levels--yes, you'll learn all about Spain and its many pockets, about the civil war, about music and politics and history, but it's all disguised in a most beguiling pageant of unrequited love and complex and blighted friendship. Don't be put off by the length (it's 550 pages). The story flies by. Everyone should read this.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I REALLY want to see Becoming Jane

Anyone game?

things have gone downhill

1) Facebook has added a "What's Your Stripper Name?" application.

2) My stripper name is Gang Bang Betsy.

sorry, Rose

I didn't mean to ruin Harry Potter for my loyal readership. However, in my defense, I never mentioned Harry Potter in a post that wasn't clearly labeled "Harry Potter," so some people might say you are an overzealous muppet for reading those posts anyway. But on the other hand *I* won't say that because you're one of two people who faithfully read my blog, and I would NEVER be that cheeky to a loyal reader.

But also...in a valid question...You're the world's FASTEST reader. Have you really been SO busy with work that you haven't had time to read?! Because perhaps if that's the case you should quit your job. One should have priorities.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

how to lose friends and alienate people (OR what NOT to do if you're a first-time author)

So, there's a magazine that EVERY AUTHOR IN THE WORLD wants to have their first novel excerpted. I won't write its name here. We'll call it Pizza (since pizza is ostensibly something else every author in the world wants).

Our faithful and much-dogged publicists have been pitching every imaginable book we have to Pizza Magazine, hoping that ONE of these days we would get lucky. Out of nowhere, Pizza finally says yes--to a most unexpected project!! They want to take first serial of this itsy-bitsy tiny first-time book whose title we, at my company, have privately punned into "The Book That Was Never Bought" since those were our high hopes for it.

But Pizza Magazine saw gold. They would be excerpting 2,000 words in their November issue!!! And what with Pizza's incredibly well-read intellectually curious readership, the author is suddenly going to be catapolted to the forefront of American highbrow culture.

The next day, we get a call from one of the world's leading newspapers, whose chief book reviewer we had approached for an unlikely blurb for The Book That Was Never Bought. "I suppose I could blurb, if you'd like," she said. "But you know, since Pizza Magazine is excerpting and all.... Would you rather I blurbed, or whipped up a little article and featured it as the weekend magazine cover in September?"

Hallelujah!! Robert the Publisher took us out for beers and calamari.

Luckily, the well-read publisher's assistant happens to have a very literary girlfriend. "It's funny," she said to him last night. "Doesn't Pizza Magazine normally only pick up unpublished excerpts? And this time they're willing to take the excerpt that was featured in last month's Tiny Free Literary Magazine. You guys must have really got lucky."

"Excuse me?" said the publisher's assistant.

That's right--the author chose to take the EXACT SAME EXCERPT and send it to an utterly unprofitable but nonetheless oft-read literary magazine. When we confirmed the Pizza Magazine deal, he LIED TO OUR FACES and told us nothing had ever been printed before.

Like Pizza wasn't going to find out...? The Tiny Free Literary Magazine editor, who used to be editor-in-chief at Pizza's Parisian counterpart, is best buddies with Pizza's editor-in-chief. And she's the kind of person who LOVES to place phone calls.

So to the author: thanks a lot, asshole. You nearly got our entire company blacklisted at Pizza for the rest of eternity. Thank god for vigilant girlfriends; hopefully we can smooth this over.

And yeah, I don't know why we didn't expect something like this from you, since you've been nothing but an uncooperative nightmare since day one (thirty changes per page on the page proofs, which you choose to submit the day we go to press?!? Classy.). So shame on us, not you. Besides, you just fucked over the rest of your own career. Until your dying day, you'll be able to say, "I was an author who was almost contracted to publish in Pizza Magazine!! But instead, I chose to be an asshole and lie to my own publisher about which materials are available for first serial."


dear god

how can one person be SO unmotivated?!?!?!

ed meeting is poo.

That's all I have to say right now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tuesday afternoon adventures

In slightly less than an hour, I'll be heading off to meet a VERY old friend (we went to daycare together) whom I haven't seen (or kept in touch with, really) in about 6 years.

This seems exciting.

I know there's an ed meeting tomorrow and I should be frantically trying to ready proposal materials, but alas, I fear I'm going home to watch Law & Order.

An interesting point from the manuscript I was just reading... How is it that some would-be authors don't produce books? (I'm allowed to ask this question because I am one myself.) All you have to do is write one page a day--just one page--and you'll churn out a novel a year!! I easily dribble out two or three pages worth of shite right here each day. And I have all kinds of plots in my head. The inspiration and the abilitiy.... So what's the missing link?

Could it possibly be that I need a new desk? I think that's it. I think I need to buy new furniture. Yesssss.

oh for petessake

I am a huge muppet. On the back of my most important galley for this season, my novel baby that we have high high hopes for, I missed that the pub month says May instead of March. Lovely.

Now there is a contingent of 6 interns with magic markers at work on 2,000 galleys. God, I hope they have neat handwriting.

funny book jokes

Thanks to blogger.com's notable blog search, I found The Caffeinated Librarian, who is chock full (tee hee) of dorky book fun. For example, Harry Potter librarian cartoons and an article about the excellent Jane Austen ruse (although I have to say, as an editor who would CERTAINLY have recognized the opening line of P&P, I would probably have responded the same way--so annoyed that I just photocopied the form letter that said my company "wasn't confident" about being able to place the book).

Anyway. 'Ear 'ear for librarians.

the topic of Harry Potter

seems to have brought undetected readership out of the woodwork. Always a relief. In this environment of sheer mockery (everywhere I go in my office, a cloud of giggling boys from editorial and publicity follows me, whispering jokes about what a dork I am. "Are you jealous that Harry is banging Ron's sister instead of you?" and "Didn't you hear? Harry trips over his own wand and falls off a cliff!! Yeah, horrible ending." Then they giggle like mad. Robert the Publisher gets all flustered and upset and cries, "Why are the giggling boys following us? Are they making fun of me?!!" and I have to say "No, Robert, they're making fun of me, but don't worry, they're just jealous that they'll never have anything in their lives that they love as much and as purely as I love Harry Potter.") I need as much support as I can get.

So for all those of you still reading, I am STILL FUCKING PISSED OFF about Fred. It's three days later and I'm still SEETHING with anger. Not THAT he's dead, just in the execution. Harumph.

Monday, July 23, 2007

craft problems

An interesting idea from a submission manuscript we may or may not be acquiring, but I will nonetheless crib here without due credit to the anonymous author (in my defense, I'm sure he's not the first who's said this):


Writing is like lovemaking. People who have trouble with the execution usually have trouble taking off or landing.


So orgasm, like a good plot, is conceptual? People who are clumsy, unsatisfied lovers are the ones who often find difficulty in tying up all the loose ends in their (literary) climax?

An interesting idea, and not as much crock as it might sound like. Something to be said for personalities...?


Angelle has made an excellent point and Bluenana has seconded its worthiness. I bring it to the forum.

In Book 6, Dumbledore tells Harry that there will only be 6 Horcruxes, since Voldemort only needs to split his soul in 7 pieces (and, presumably, one will stay in his body so Harry has something to defeat).

But we count 7 Horcruxes:

1) the diary
2) Gaunt's ring/the Hallow
3) Slytherin's locket
4) Hufflepuff's cup
5) Ravenclaw's diadem
6) Nagini
7) Harry

Furthermore, Dumbledore did not believe that Harry was an "extra" Horcrux, since he thought that Voldemort's intention was to make his final capstone Horcrux after Harry's murder.

Any theories, anyone? Have we somehow miscounted?


In the wake of Harry Potter, I'm desperate to read. I want to read tons and tons of books. I have a copy of YIDDISH POLICEMEN (anyone read it yet? I've heard it's awesome) and a queue of about 14 half-read books dating back to BEA.

Any recommendations?

why is it raining


At least we're doing better than Tewkesbury, England. (Photo shamelessly ripped from NYT, who declare other flooding in such diverse places as China and Texas.) Amen for global warming.

Book report: JK Rowling/Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

This won't be a plot synopsis, and I won't touch on anything Angelle said in her excellent forum, so this is basically my emotional response to this era of my life having been unwillingly brought to a conclusion. Needless to say, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS. So read on not, oh ye moderates.

Yes, yes, it goes without saying that I love Harry Potter, but I know for a fact I'm not the only one a little bit upset with DEATHLY HALLOWS. No, of course I'm relieved that Harry didn't die, but does anyone else feel JK copped out by ceremoniously killing off only the most minor of characters?

Good-bye, Mad-Eye; you were a tough ass but won't break too many hearts. Good-bye, Dobby; you were annoying as fuck but we appreciate your sacrifice. Flowers shall grow on your grave. Come on, here, HEDWIG?!?! Seriously?!?!

Also---how come it was never discussed in greater detail how earless George is going to respond to Fred's death?! Why does JK suddenly pretend that they are two separate characters to be separately mourned, when throughout the entire series we have seen them as two gallant and jovial halves of a whole? Nope, nope, weep for poor Fred, Fred is dead. Is anyone thinking of George?! How does George go on?! That didn't even make me sad, just mad. This VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE wasn't even addressed in the Epilogue.

In a side note--apparently the actors who play Fred and George (all this through IMDB) are tricksters themselves, and in the filming of the 3rd movie they swapped undetected and filmed a bunch of scenes as each other. Heh heh. When the director found out, he made them refilm. Again, seriously?

All right, folks--I DARE you to tell me which one is George and which one is Fred. Apparently it's quite easy--one has a mole under his left ear, and the other doesn't. Let's hope it's not George.

The big revelation at the end that Harry was a Horcrux--I gotta admit, Bluenana suggested that idea to me two years ago, and it seemed downright obvious ever since.

I really WAS relieved that Harry survived the second killing curse, and I think the Hallows were a really neat device to work that out. Well done, JK.

Was anyone else sick enough to hope that Ginny would give it up at the beginning? I mean, I think it's pretty safe to say SHE wanted to. Melanie reminds me this is a children's book and the adults must be satisfied to read between the lines. I, however, has reasonable hope that the movie will jazz things up considerably. (By the way, this photo is the first hit to come up on a Google image search of "Harry Potter." Fun fact.)

I also have this feeling that JK cheats death--all of the beloved people Harry has lost, especially Dumbledore, are JUST AS if not MORE accessible when they're dead.

I was sorely bothered to discover the book dook place in 1997. Any ideas about why JK would set it then? Just because that's when she started writing? I'm not sure I understand why she bothered to set it in time at all.

Also...DAMN but wizards seem to procreate young.

How come Dumbledore never got married? And why don't we ever see any concrete hints at any homosexual relationships? (Well, I suppose that question answers itself.) (But wait--did I miss any?!? PLEASE fill me in.)

Sob. What shall I live for, though, now that it's over? Oh, Lord of Irresistable Fantasy!! Hasten to send me a new wagon to jump on!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007


No posts this weekend...I've been so sick that I'm only 400 pages into Harry Potter. Shocking.

Alas. Nyquill time. I hate summer colds. No one tell me how Harry ends.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Angelle's response to my last post

was so awesome that I'm posting it again here.


Hey maybe I should become a schlocky ghostwriter... I might be good at that. Then I never have to dress up and can wear my pajamas all day long, which is really, my greatest dream and aspiration. No seriously, I swear, I'd be amazingly good at writing really bad writing and I'm willing to be paid millions for it.

I often wonder if I shouldn't offer to write really melodramatic Asian dramas. I bet I could make a killing, and I'd be incredible at it. Alas, my grasp of any Asian language is simply not good enough. It was a thought though. I mean if someone got paid to adapt "Il Mare" into the horrifyingly bad "The Lakehouse", I don't see why I shouldn't take some dramas involving sacrificing oneself to donate eyes and babies switched at birth, and rewrite them for Keanu to act in. He'll put on the same face as he always does (blank) as the girl cries and tells him, finally, that she has toe cancer, and he'll say with an inscrutable look -- "But. Why?" *commence sweeping sad violin concerto* Then he'll leap off a building with instructions in his pocket that his toes - which have been wrapped neatly in a hankerchief as to prevent damage from a 50 foot drop - are to be donated to his long lost love, who also, by the way, happens to be his adopted sister.

What do you think? Do I have a future career???

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Moonrat's Guide to Getting into Publishing

I've had a couple of reader requests for this now, and boy do I have two cents (at least) to put in, so thanks to everyone who asked.

Here are the main themes:


If you're hoping for a job in publishing, the best thing you can do for yourself is get an internship. Most publishing companies offer internships--almost all unpaid--and they really boost your resume. You should also look into literary agencies--many a successful editorial career was born at a lit agency. And since publishing is a poor industry and every company needs free labor, you shouldn't have a problem finding an internship (at least, in New York City).

To learn about available internships, start subscribing to Publishers Lunch. This is a free daily newsletter that sends out bulletins for most available publishing jobs. You should also check mediabistro.com regularly. It's a gold mine.

Another thing that reflects really well on job candidates is experience in a bookstore, or in retail in general. This shows you have a good eye for marketing schemes and customer trends.

This all assumes that you either have a college degree or are on your way to getting one. There is some conversation about what the best degree to have is, but there really isn't any reason you need an English degree. I don't have one--I majored in history. One very good friend majored in Russian literature and film and has done wonderfully. That said, most publishing people have majored in English.

There are many, many aspects of publishing, so although people tend to think of either writing or editing, there are lots of more exciting and glamorous and well-paid jobs in other areas. Marketing and Sales notoriously pay the best, although publicists are often just as well paid. Publicists and Sales Managers get to travel the most. Foreign Rights and Subrights agents get to attend the most international conventions. Jobs in Publicity, Sales, and Marketing, in particular, translate really well to and from other industries.

My suggestion would be to keep an open mind--you can always enter one field and then segue into another. You won't be the first or the last person. Please keep in mind that all the below fields are absolutely necessary and are often overlooked.

A taster of options, with some abbreviated job descriptions:


1) Acquisitions Editor (I start here, because this is where I've been): the acquisitions editor is responsible for bringing new titles into the company. He or she is responsible for convincing the publisher to lay down the money, courting the author, and generating marketing copy for catalogs, sales sheets, book flaps, etc. The acquisition editor is, at some/most companies, also responsible for editing the book and liaising with the production department. TO WORK IN THIS FIELD: LOOK FOR ENTRY LEVEL JOBS AS AN EDITORIAL ASSISTANT.

2) Developmental Editor: at many companies, developmental editors will work with the book as actual editors once acquisitions editors have acquired the book. The DE is responsible for content and quality. DEs also exist in many lines where there are no acquisitions--for example, at a text book company or a travel book company, there is no need for an acquisitions editor, since content is basically being commissioned, farmed, and edited constantly. Often, people who thought they wanted to be acquisitions editors will find they prefer working with the text more than with the money and the crazy people you have to deal with on the acquisition side, and will pursue developmental jobs. TO WORK IN THIS FIELD: LOOK FOR ENTRY LEVEL JOBS AS AN EDITORIAL ASSISTANT.

3) Managing Editor (or Production Editor): at most companies (although, coincidentally, none of the companies I have worked for) the managing editor is the lynch pin for the product line or the company (if the company is small). The managing editor "manages" project flow, seasons lists, deadlines, and duedates. He or she also usually liaises with the copy editors, proofreaders, indexers, printers, designers, and other freelancers brought in at the production stage. Often, companies will either have a production department or a managing editorial department. I won't describe production here, since there is so much crossover. These individuals are extremely detail-oriented and organized. They are very special people who are secretly running the company. TO WORK IN THIS FIELD: LOOK FOR ENTRY LEVEL JOBS AS AN EDITORIAL ASSISTANT, A MANAGING EDITORIAL ASSISTANT, OR A PRODUCTION ASSISTANT.

4) Publisher: The head honcho. The publisher manages a list of titles or a company, and is responsible for doling out advances, making sure books are shipped, etc. Most publishers are former editors, although publishers on the whole do not have time to edit. If you want to be a publisher, it is smart to pursue a career in editorial or in marketing and to try to get an advanced degree (and MBA has worked for all my previous publishers) to show your business savvy.

5) Marketing Manager: the marketing team is responsible for consumer outreach, promotions, co-op, liaising with Sales and with booksellers, and monitoring things like jacket image and copy to make sure it best appeals to the target audience. To quote a very wise friend, marketing is where the money is. TO WORK IN THIS FIELD: START AS A MARKETING OR PUBLICITY ASSISTANT.

6) Publicist: I think you know what a publicist does? But it's more fun in books, since you really get to hobnob with celebrities. TO WORK IN THIS FIELD: START AS A PUBLICITY ASSISTANT, OR AS A PUBLICIST IN ANOTHER INDUSTRY. ALSO, BE REALLY PERKY AND SOCIAL.

7) Events Coordinator: again, pretty self-explanatory.

8) Subrights Coordinator: Subrights agents sell everything from audio and large print licenses to serial excerpts in magazines to foreign language translation rights to the rights to make your book into a calendar or mug. Subrights is your best chance of getting to use a foreign language in publishing. Also, you'll get to go to lots of rights fairs.

9) Sales Manager: Sellers are the ones who go to Barnes & Noble (as well as Urban Outfitters and tiny independents and everything in between) and beg them to stock the company's books. Sellers are the best compensated people in publishing and get to travel a lot (or have to travel a lot, depending on your perspective). Sellers are always very well dressed and usually are one of the few members of the company with an unlimited expense account. They also have very stressful jobs, since their ability to get copies of the book out is directly proportional to how many copies are printed and sold. Harry Potter with a lousy sales team would have failed. TO GET INTO SALES: YOU CAN START AS A SALES OR MARKETING ASSISTANT, OR YOU CAN EASILY COME FROM ANOTHER INDUSTRY (note--head of sales at a large publishing company just left to become CEO of Shaw's Groceries).

10) Contracts Manager: an oft-overlooked and extremely well-paid job. Contracts managers have to be bulldogs. Sometimes they will have law degrees, and companies like to have lawyers on hand, but there is absolutely no requirement that you have one. There are only like 8 great contracts managers in all of publishing, because no one thinks to go into this field, so if you were interested in working in contracts there are probably tons of ready-made jobs.

11) Legal Department: that's right, publishing companies need lawyers. A lot of material needs to be vetted to make sure the company won't be sued for libel.

12) Creative/Art Specialist: this is the person who designs the cover image and front cover text layout. An art degree helps a lot here.

13) Book designer: this is the person who lays out the interior of the book.


14) Agent: agents are, in theory, the most creative people in publishing. They think of great ideas for books, troll for authors to match up with the ideas, and pitch tirelessly to editors to get them to listen. The agent also gets all the free lunches from the editors. (And they say there's no such thing as a free lunch.) TO BECOME AN AGENT: START AS AN AGENCY ASSISTANT. OR AS AN EDITOR.


All the following well-compensated jobs are absolutely essential to publishing and often allow you to work at home:

15) Copy Editor

16) Line Editor

17) Proofreader

18) Copy Writer: generates the flap and marketing copy

19) Fact-Checker

20) Indexer

21) Outside Publicist: can anyone say Heidi Krupp?

22) Book Doctor: polishes/rewrites really shitty manuscripts before they go to the editor

23) Ghost Writer: occasionally paid millions. Shocking. A lot of them are terrible schlocky writers.

All things to think about, all exciting ways to be involved in the process.

Am I forgetting anything in this disorganized treatise?

today's Mole reminder

It's been awhile since I posted about the Mole, and I fear this may mean that I'm forgetting the kindness, goodness, and sense of adventure for which the Mole stood.

Bluenana made an excellent point when I told her the story of how the Mole changed my life. She said that the Mole was good and sweet because the the Mole was doing its best, and when its best got it stuck in a predicament, it was gracious about accepting the aid of a well-meaning stranger.

Michiko Kakutani has read Deathly Hallows!!!

And she flaunts it to the world!!

How I hate her!!

a lot of friends leaving publishing this week

I got a proposal from an agent two weeks ago. Last week, she wrote to follow up. I replied to her the next day, at which point she said, never mind, if I really liked the book, I should just talk to the author directly. She would be leaving publishing to go work for a PR firm. Big raise, better hours. I said congratulations.

This morning I found out the editorial assistant who got me my first job at my last company is leaving to work for a law firm (they're doubling her salary and cutting her hours, so she'll also be able to pursue art school, which working as an Ass had precluded).

Her predecessor has, following a different route, also left this week to take a part-time job in a furniture shop. The job will pay her as well as her publishing job and will give her benefits that are as good, but she'll only have to work three days a week.



I'm very upset about the Potters that went astray, and I'm imploring you to PLEASE not drop me any hints in the event that you have heard any of the spoilers about how the seventh book ends.

Quelle sadness.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tuesday drags on and these are my thoughts

1) I wish I had a watermelon aloe jelly drink from Chinatown. So close, yet so far away.

2) I haven't been productive in WEEKS. Perhaps I need a vacation. Any suggestions of where I should go? Where's nice (read: cheap) in August?

3) I would rather be reading Harry Potter. In fact, I'm getting stressed out because I have SO much work to do and SO little time to catch up on book 6 before book 7 is out. Crikey.


I've been out of the loop

There are SO many amazing places to drink in the East Village. I need to drink more.

Monday, July 16, 2007

isn't it funny

how the oldest, deadest wounds come to life again at the smallest touch? Zombie wounds, I guess--put to grave long ago, but ever willing to lurch to their hideous feet and start chewing on your brain.

People say pain passes with time. ...but how much time could it possibly take? Is there a formula? I'd love to know when it will all just go away.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Melanie's house party

For those who couldn't or chose not to come, you missed out.

First of all, Sooby and I brought some awesome Jell-o shots. Most notably, the melon fusion (which was a lovely seagreen) was just sublime. But anyway.

The best part of the party was Lisa Park, Melanie's Korean next-door neighbor. I walked into the party and saw her with Melanie's ex, who is also Korean, and assumed they had come together because they were talking closely. But then she approached me and opened her mouth and (given the ex's Christian tendencies) I was promptly showed I was wrong.

"What a beautiful shirt," she said to me.

"Thanks..." I said. "Melanie gave it to me, as a matter of fact."

"I'm Lisa Park," she said. "What's your name?"

"Moonrat," I told her.

She turned away from me to Sooby. "I'm Lisa Park," she said. "What's your name?"

"Sooby," he answered. After some difficult repeating of his name, she ascertained that he was, in fact, British. "Aw'raight, dahlin'?" she said.

"What?" said Sooby.

"Aw'raight, dahlin'?" she repeated. "I went to England once and that's what the landlady said to me."

"Oh," said Sooby (who is, by the way, in normal conversations, quite a witty conversationalist).

"So you British men are super freaks in bed," she remarked.

"What?!" said Sooby.

"Super freaks?" she asked hopefully.

"Uh... Did you, uh, have a British boyfriend?"

"Just one," she said. "But he wasn't a super freak. I was the freaky one." At that point, like a goldfish, she lost the thread and turned to me. "I'm Lisa Park. What's your name?"

"Moonrat?" I said.

"Oh, I LOVE your shirt. Where did you get it?"

The evening progressed. We all, repeatedly, learned the following tidbits about Lisa Park:

1) She had a red meat fetish, that caused her to be sexually attracted to red meat. Apparently this fetish also carried over to red Jell-o.
2) She had a foot fetish, and particularly liked stroking and sucking toenails.
3) She had a 65-year-old married boyfriend who enjoyed having his ass slapped with a piece of turkey breast during sex and then, after the act was committed, enjoying with his girlfriend the tasty resulting turkey sandwich.
4) She really wanted to sleep with my friend Susan, who was too nice to kick Lisa Park off as she stroked her second toe and stated, repeatedly, "Your second toe is longer than your big toe--that means you must be a really sensual, freaky lover."
5) She, unlike most of the human population, finds the taste of asshole quite pleasant, like "a sesame bagel with rotten cream cheese."

After assuming that Susan and I were together (but not at all feeling deterred in stroking Susan's toe, nonetheless) and being sadly disabused, she walked up to Sooby and asked, point blank, "Are you fucking her?" (words that, as we know, no British gentleman is used to hearing). Then she invited me over to her place to pick up another bottle of wine, but regrettably I was for some reason not inclined. I did hear from others, however, that she has naked pictures of herself all over her living room.

I've been accused of laying down here a character assassination. However, I merely write to entertain, and overall I found this particular evening entertaining. Lesson to my beloved readership: Go light on the booze the day you've given blood, or you shall be irrevocably beset upon by a toe-stroking asshole-licking snowballing serially forgetful abstract artist.

Friday, July 13, 2007


This morning, my stapler ran out of staples. Actually, it ran out a couple of days ago, but I didn't bother to refill it. I had to root around in my desk to find the box of staples. I believe this is the first time I've refilled my stapler in the six months I've been here.

When I was an Editorial Assistant (title still gets caps), I LIVED to staple. I remember the gross satisfaction of mid-week editorial meetins and the prospect of needing to make up tens and tens of grids and memos and minutes to distribute to all the participants. Yes, I was a gopher-slave, but each of those mini-packets needed a staple. kaCHUNK!

I remember counting the days between having to refill the stapler. Ooo! Only 24 this time around! Now THAT my friend was a good stapling perioud. Alas, winter holidays and lack of meetings.... This batch has taken 45 days! Shocking! How would I ever plow through the whole box at that rate?!!

And now all that joy is gone. Stapling? Ehn. When I need to. Sometimes, a binder clip that is lying around will do just as well. It's a big hassle to have to find the stapler under the piles and piles of unread junk on my desk (there's no gleamingly polished Stapler Corner, as there was during my Ass days).

What does this say? I no longer appreciate the simple pleasures of life, and reality is making me into a cruel and bitter person? Or that I was REALLY in a bad place before, having to cling to the idea that stapling memos to distribute was great fun?

Who can say?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

seriously, all I want to do

is read Harry Potter. And instead I have to flippin' edit.

JANE is over!

I can't believe it's going. I loved loved loved JANE until about a year ago, when they slightly de-sassified their package.

Very sad.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

this guy is for real

For anyone not familiar with the expression "to have balls."

Some details mangled for sake of anonymity.

A couple of months ago, I bought US rights to a history of the Soviet Union from [what we shall call] Flower Books, an imprint of [the imaginary conglomerate] Carper Holland. There is a long and convoluted back story to the eventual acquisition of rights and suffice it to say I would rather not overburden you with the gruesome and painful details.

But after months of heavy negotiating (at which point I didn't even want to do the book anymore, because it needed serious editorial work and the contract process had made the whole effort seem colossally not worth it) the deal finally came through. And the author, who had been excruciatingly unavailable for months and months, suddenly popped out of the woodwork and began emailing me every day with other books he wanted to work on right now (one particularly memorable proposal: A TRAVELER'S HISTORY OF YUGOSLAVIA. I'm disinclined to point out the obvious for my readership).

In addition, he has had the Carper Holland foreign rights manager send me every backlist title he's ever written that no one has bought US rights for (quite a few--he's very prolific and rather a bad writer who tends towards topics already covered). None of them have interested me at all except the one I initially bid on, which I did largely from Robert's recommendation (we were both interested in the topic, to be fair).

I've been deflecting the option proposals, since they're mostly hooey, but I've been doing so politely. When he pitched a new idea for a book that is essentially an outgrowth of the one we bought, I wrote him back saying I would bring it up in ed meeting if we did a thorough write-up of the idea and the content and how it differs significantly from the book we already bought. He sends me said write-up (and informs me there are some typos; he orders me to fix them by hand myself). To my eyes, they're exactly the same. I am 100% not interested in editing or publishing a sequel.

"Reply to me with your offer by July 2nd," the author says authoritatively in his email. "I'm going into Carper Holland that day to discuss my option possibilities and I'll need to be able to tell them this option isn't available to them before I go."

[...slimey, anyone? Left a bad taste in my mouth, at least.]

By the way--all this before the contract for the first book is at all signed (never mind before we have a sales track for the first book).

Robert gives me an easy out--he points out that this author still has an option with Carper Holland. In good faith we can say we will not even consider the proposal until Carper has been offered the chance and has refused it. Awesome.

I write the author this news. The next day, he replies, subject: HURRAY!!!, the following:

"Great news--there is nothing now stopping you from taking on the sequel. Yesterday I visited Carper, where my editor's assistant informed me that Flower Books is closing and thereby unable to acquire any new titles. At my request, she is writing a letter to say as much. I am sure my former editor will be delighted when I tell him I am now your author.

Please send the contract to my summer address. Make all advances and royalties payable to my wife."

Ballsy. Ordering me to send him a contract for a book I haven't even brought to editorial meeting, never mind haven't offered on.

I chose not to reply.

The day after that, another email issueth forth:

"Moonrat--this is to let you know that the promised letter from Carper Holland arrived thsi morning. It explains how Flower Books "will no longer be operating as an originating publisher" and therefore won't be able to consider my new book and encourages me to seek a new publisher.

I well send you a photocopy of the letter when I return the signed contract for my sequel. Perhaps you can tell me how soon the contract will arrive, as we are planning a tour of the Greek islands at the beginning of August."


I did respond to this one:

"You seem to have misunderstood. We have not in fact made an offer on your book. Carper is a longtime business partner of ours and we are unwilling to even consider the proposal until we have written confirmation from Carper that they have rejected your option proposal."

In retrospect, I fear I might have been too polite.

I hate that he thinks he can bully me into sending him a contract, and I suddenly have to sit here and think about how many other contracts I might have been bullied into.


What did you guys think?

I'm not sure I'm qualified to (nor interested in) reviewing Harry Potter, since, after all, a) we already know every possible detail of the story, b) we already know every possible pitfall of trying to convert a 850-page book into a movie, and c) we've already determined to love it anyway.

You can read a snooty review in any paper so here I will simply put down my stream of consciousness as though you care.

Awesome duel at the end, don't you think? *Really* made me want to be a wizard.

Melanie was horribly disappointed that they never once played the Harry Potter musical theme. Honestly I noticed the obvious lack, too.

*I* was terribly disappointed because despite some delicious homosexual undertones we never got to see Harry with his shirt off. Although he was certainly suave an pimpish (all that clever elbow-touching? and wand pointing assistance?) in a way I DON'T remember Harry from the book being.

Also, I really want a broomstick to ride. It's just not fair that we haven't worked out the technological ecquivalent yet.

The kiss--a little bit dirty? I thought so. Although (one of my comrades cleverly pointed out) nothing touched but lips.

Thankfully they didn't put Ron in any of the horrible jumpers they have been giving him throughout the movies (not in any kind of character-development, I'm fairly sure--I know JK says the Weasleys don't have a lot of money, but I don't remember her saying Ron dresses like the fattest girl in the 8th grade) (except ironically, with the sweater his "mum" gives him at Christmas).

No quidditch--a little weird, but on the other hand, we've basically seen it all, haven't we?

I tried to tell people about how great the Mole was, but, predictably (given the occasion), interest was low. Someone should have a mole in Harry Potter. Neville would have done better with a mole than with the lumpy cactus.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

ye gods

I need to read Potter!! I can't correct page proofs anymore!!

SO difficult

to sit here at my desk and pretend to be concentrating on editing this shockingly bad manuscript when a copy of ORDER OF THE PHOENIX is sitting beguilingly next to me.

I am ON this bandwagon so anyone who has a problem with Pottermania or anything like it can just eff off please. I love Potter and I'm proud of it.

Melanie and I will be camping outside our chosen theater starting around 8:30 pm. Although AM New York tore the movie to shreds ("the franchise has hit late adolescence"?!? HellO! Have you read the book?! That's what the whole thing is about!!!), New York magazine had these glowing things to say about it.

How do movie reviewers get lucky enough to be able to see it before the rest of us?! Sob.

I don't suppose any book reviewers got advance copies to read, though.

I remember when I worked at Borders the summer that ORDER OF THE PHOENIX came out. There were boxes and boxes and boxes of books stacked in the back for weeks beforehand. We weren't allowed to even cut the boxes open until like 11 pm, a managerial concession. But they sat there for WEEKS. Can you tell me in all the Borders across the country no stooge managed to creep in and read the book in advance on his/her lunch break?

I have dressed up for my hot date with Daniel Radcliff and Rupert Grint tonight. I am wearing a scandalously transparent sundress (which my mother found at a tagsale for $2), pearl earrings, and my new Chanel sunglasses (man, are they hot). I have a very particular person to thank for the sunglasses and that person should know HOW AWESOME she is.

Monday, July 09, 2007


I have decided I love my Mole. The Mole is a role model for all things good and sweet. When I feel sad or stressed out, I think about my Mole, and I feel happy.

I think about my Mole and wonder how he (or she) is doing on The Other Side of the Street. I hope he (or she) is ok and didn't try to cross the road again.

Harry Potter challenge

Because we should all be prepared.

Trying to [re]finish ORDER OF THE PHOENIX by tomorrow night to be adequately prepared for the movie.

Will then try to finish HALFBLOOD PRINCE for the week after, for obvious reasons.

Angelle, how are you doing with all things Potter?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

It's Nature Day in West Bumcheek, Connecticut

Yes it is. This is why I come to visit my parents.

First, at around 10 am the Jehovah's Witness lady rang the doorbell. "I'm here with an invitation," she said. "An invitation for the entire family to open your heart to the Christ."

"You should talk to my mother," I said.

"Also," she said, "we were admiring your beautiful garter snake."

"Which one?"

"The one on your walk down there." She held her Jesus pamphlets three feet apart. "It's this long."

"Then you should REALLY talk to my mother," I told her cunningly. Heh heh heh.

After mother's anticipated flip-out, the Witness, my father, and myself clotted around the bee balm and tried to catch the snake, who was, well, snakelike and highly elusive. We'd catch a tail, he'd slip away (sinuously). Finally it was the Witness who darted her hand into the bushes as cunningly as Tom Hanks spears that fish in CASTAWAY and came up with the whole snake.

My dad proudly wrestled the fellow into compliance. He was very beautiful, sleek and black with nice yellow stripes lengthwise and a graceful red tongue. We put him in a box and Dad walked him far away into the woods where my mother wouldn't feel obliged to kill him.

Then my mother, to recover from her terrible ordeal, had to go out tagsaling. (Of course I had to come, too. Crikey.) On the way home, we saw what looked like a giant black caterpillar trying to cross the road. I was dispatched to save it as soccer moms in SUVs whizzed by.

It turned out to be a mole, the sweetest little thing ever. It was blind (as moles are), and kept getting confused about which way it needed to go to cross. I tried to encourage it in one direction, but it became nervous and froze. At first I was afraid to pick it up because I thought it would bite, but it didn't even try. It was so soft and sweet. I feel bad, because I flung it off the road with more force than turned out to be necessary. So sweet. Really really funny looking, though. Have you ever seen a mole? Man, it was weird. But cute.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

i can't eat anymore oatmeal.


further to the question of circumcision

Thanks to everyone for their research, postings, and uncomfortable interviews made on behalf of the education of the greater public. I'd like to take this opportunity to cite Bluenana for the courage it must have required to have this conversation with her mother.

Some, erm, poking around has revealed that this is an issue that has bothered and perplexed many individuals and groups (although not always for such simple and scatalogical reasons as mine).

However, I would like to reaffirm my belief that I was NOT LED ON. Some internet links (definitively irrefutable, simply in their qualification as such) to prove my case.

Random (and slightly creepy in its clinicalism) document on circumcision in the Philippines (complete with commentary from, apparently, lots of Filipino men who are remembering THEIR cut)
some pictures you actually don't want to see (but you're gonna look anyway, aren't you)

how could i have missed this

For anyone who (like me) doesn't read gawker...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

important questions concerning the mythologies of filipino circumcision

SOMEONE whose identity shall not be disclosed herein has told me a tall tale in a deadpan and I'm looking for some indication as to whether or not I should believe it.

Filipino friends (and others who have been somehow secretly informed of these occult maneuvers) please advise.

SOMEONE has claimed that Filipino boys are not circumcised until they are 13. It's a rite of passage. Upon attaining that age, the older boys take the "man" in question down to the lake, where his foreskin is stretched out on a rock and smashed off with another rock.

Obviously, even I'M not gullible enough to believe this story, except SOMEONE's very honest preschool teaching older sister has already been called upon to validate. "That's what happened to my ex husband," she told me. "They stretched his little peepee out on a rock..."

Is it true? IS IT TRUE?!?

Monday, July 02, 2007

money diet disaster

Have apprehended credit card bill. Will be eating only Pathmark oatmeal packets for the next month.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

dangers of sunbathing

I don't ever go in the sun. This is because I'm embarrassingly white. I'm whiter than Wonderbread smeared with Fluff. When I sit on the Columbia lawn (as Melanie and I did for about three hours yesterday) everyone in the vicinity has to wear sunglasses lest they go blind from the Sahara sand-like reflective capacity of my white, white legs.

Normally I just hide this all under layers of clothing.

Well anyway, I thought yesterday that maybe, after five years of hiding in shadows and under tents, I could try venturing out into the sun again. Melanie obliged me with lots and lots of sunscreen. Everything felt fine--it was amazing. Only my white, white legs remained unlathered. I thought perhaps I could induce them to have SOME color.

For three hours we sat and watched my legs as flocks of magpies circled overhead, vying for the chance to swoop in. NO COLOR. Three hours at the sunniest time of day, and painfully metalic white they stayed. Quelle sadness.

At last, around 5 pm when Susanne joined us, we suddenly noticed some color. As in, the top surface of my knees and thighs suddenly and precipitously turned LOBSTER RED. Best of all, apparently after applying sunscreen to my shoulders and face I had wiped my greasy hands on my legs.... There are two clear hand prints, one on each shin. Lovely.

No more summery skirts for at least a week.