31 August 2013

I Was Expecting Someone Much Older, Too

I enjoyed Publishers Weekly’s roundup of publishing industry veterans’ memories of their early days on the job in days of electric typewriters, fax machines with rolls of shiny paper, mechanical paste-ups, smokers in the office, and even elevator operators.

Here’s a story from Howard Reeves of Abrams Books for Young Readers:
I calmly left the lobby, and ran to [editor] Martha Kaplan’s office. “I just asked Gloria Vanderbilt who she was,” I said.

Martha rolled her eyes and dropped her head in her hands.

“I was expecting someone much older.”

She lifted her head slightly. “Perfect.”

Martha came and fetched Ms. Vanderbilt. Before they disappeared down the hall, I heard Martha say, “Of course he knew you were coming, but he says he was expecting a much older woman.”

I swear Ms. Vanderbilt’s lips twitched ever so slightly.
Dinah Stevenson of Clarion Books:
Old-fashioned crafts like spinning and blacksmithing are being revived. I bet pre-separating artwork won’t be among them.
Ginee Seo of Chronicle Books:
I would sometimes curse the day I told any agent I liked fantasy because those manuscripts were always long, and carrying them plus other submissions for weekend reading made for an incredibly heavy haul.
But my enjoyment was tempered by seeing some of those veterans date their hoary tales to “back in the ’80s,” “in the mid 1980s,” and even “in 1992.” I myself started work in publishing in 1987 (a year earlier if you count a summer job). And I suppose my stories of maintaining the department’s email connection to the Soviet Union would seem unfathomably antique to many professionals today. But still, I’d prefer not to be older than any of the industry’s old-timers.

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