December 30, 2010

Keeping Up Appearances

Having moved around a lot, I have a lot of friends online. And really, I was a quick adopter of the internet back in the '90s and have a tendency to express myself online much the same as I do in real life. Especially when it comes to blowing off steam. Since I work with computers all day, a quick tweet or status update resolves the need to rant without requiring that I leave my desk to go find someone to talk to (especially since the people that know me best live half-way across the country).

This has led to a number of awkward situations in the past, as you can imagine.

It's even more difficult now while I pursue publication. The people I have to blow off steam about the most are at work and I work in publishing! I can rant about how dumb editors are, and those who aren't paying attention might think I'm speaking as an author rather than a production worker at a publishing company. In order, the three most frustrating people to deal with are editors, marketers, and salespeople. Each comes chock full of excuses to get their way instead, all of which I have become quite versed in over the years. Knowing they're using a drab and overdone excuse not because it has any bearing on the product your making but only because they don't know what they're doing and they need things to go their way to maintain an appearance of competence can be--as you would imagine--extremely frustrating.

Now all these people actually do know things. ...well, most of them do. But publishing doesn't offer a lot of interdepartmental training and the production-side of publishing is generally ignored both internally and externally by any that don't have to deal with it directly. You'll never see an author acknowledge the hard work of his book's project manager even though it was that person who had the thing typeset and sent to press in 1/4 the time (s)he should have received after everyone else missed their deadlines.

You know how they say shit rolls downhill? Yeah, our cubes are at the bottom of the hill.

This time of year is busiest for the department I'm in right now and tensions are running high. While it might be best if I said nothing at all, if I did that, I'd hurt myself from hitting my head against my desk so hard. So, anything you see me saying, please keep in mind it's not reflective of any editors I might be working with as an author--and in fact, has nothing to do with trade publishing at all since I work on the education side.

Just tooting my whistle before the built up steam causes it to burst.

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