Thursday, June 12, 2008


I've recently had a request from a reader on a post with some guidelines for becoming an Editorial Ass.

I originally began this blog with the idea that it would be a home of solace for other Editorial Asses who were bumbling along like me, in the metaphorical dungeon of the publishing castle, where the air is dank, the pickings are slim, and sometimes it's hard to tell whether it's day or night. Since that time, though, I magically ascended to... shall we say, metaphorical scullery maid of the publishing castle? And then I met a lot of other interesting people who weren't Asses but thought Asses were interesting for a number of different reasons, and the blog started to go in a different direction.

That said!! I have LOTS of advice for Asses, aspiring Asses, and recovering Asses, and you all know how I love to give out advice and unsolicited opinions. I would like to renew my commitment to others like myself now. We haven't got much in terms of nickles to rub together, but we can at least all rub together our two cents. I want publishing to be a pay-it-forward industry.

With the end of the college year and the beginning of the job search rush, the time is ripe for this post, and I wanted to let that patient reader know that I am working on a tutorial, which I hope to post on Monday morning. So Asses and recovering Asses, do drop me a note with your cautionary tales, lessons, morals, woes, gripes, and happy ascension stories. I will oh-so-happily incorporate them into my tutorial, with credit or without as directed. Aspiring Asses, direct your fellows here. I hope we'll have a lot to share.


laughingwolf said...

cool... haven't had the privilege [?] of editing in quite some time, so look forward to monday to see if anything to contribute is sparked in this old bean ;)

Ello said...

I'm an Ass, she's an Ass, wouldn't you like to be an Ass too!

Sung to the Dr. Pepper tune.

sorry couldn't resist.

I just want to note that you use Ass or Asses over 10 times along with such interesting words like rub, post, unsolicited, ripe, morals, dungeons and maid. I can't wait to see what kind of searches you're gonna get from this post! ;o)

moonrat said...

thanks, Ello. whatever damage my post itself didn't do, your comment will help consolidate!

Jennifer L. Griffith said...

Moonie, YOU are a riot!!!!

I'm thankful that you are here for more than one or even two reasons. If I started to list them, it'd likely turn into a dozen, and maybe the "baker's variety."

I know that you are a busy lady, so thanks for the time it takes to bless us, AND thanks for the laughter.

The Anti-Wife said...

Hi! We'll look forward to your words of wisdom.

Ryan Field said...

I read this all the time and never comment. But I used to be an first job out of college was with Conde Nast for Playgirl Mag as an ASS.

Ello said...

Wait! Don't blame me! Ryan said Playgirl! ;o)

Sarahlynn said...

Different field, but . . .

I was hired fresh out of college as an editorial assistant at a large health sciences publisher. The editor who hired me was really taking a chance, given my complete lack of experience. And I sucked.

I was a terrible assistant, first of all, having no idea what "assistants" did, largely because I was completely ignorant about office culture. (No one in my family has a traditional office job, and The Office wasn't on TV yet . . . this was even before Office Space!)

For instance, I had no idea how to send a fax and had to find another EA for help when such a task was first assigned to me (and, yes, tasks had to be assigned to me because I was too ignorant to take initiative at first).

It was weeks before I realized that the copier had a feeder function; I'd been lying pasted pages (this was about 10 years ago, before all mss were digital) and other documents one page at a time, face down on the copy surface.

Oh, how I cringe, in retrospect!

But the truth is, what makes a good editor doesn't necessarily make a good EA, though obviously some low-risk introductory level position is necessary for aspiring editors.

My plan was to act confident and capable and get promoted as fast as possible before my incompetence caught up with me.

It worked; I was a developmental editor 8 months after being hired. Shortly thereafter, I was writing revision plans and running proposal financials for my titles.

And after a few years I moved over to marketing management rather than moving up in editorial.

Now I write and hope to work with my own editor once my novels are ready.

It's not the career path that I initially envisioned, but I'm quite happy with it so far!

jesslovesnyc said...

Oh yay! I can't wait to read your post...i really wanna be an editorial ass ;) (actually, am moving to NYC in sept. in the hopes of finding a job in book publishing...)