Monday, August 25, 2008

Another year goes by...

Warning: this is another “I love my job” post.

I just realized that I missed noting my nine-year anniversary as a children's book editor. I started as an editorial assistant back on August 16th, 1999, and have stayed at the same company for my whole career thus far. It's been quite a run! I honored the anniversary last year in this post, and I'm happy to say that I still feel the same way:
I can't say I've loved every second of it, but I can say that I'm extremely happy with where I am, am constantly challenged and inspired, and I still absolutely love my job.
Not bad, eh? I don't foresee changing my mind about my career in the near (or far) future. It's just such a rewarding, challenging, and fun job. I’ve been doing a bunch of informational interviews lately, and when asked if I like my job, I can’t help breaking out in a smile and saying, “I love it.” Do I recommend getting into children’s book publishing? Absolutely. As long as you can stomach being an assistant for 2-5 years, and pinching pennies for 6+ years, it's completely worth it.

One thing I love is that just when I think I've figured something out, things don’t go quite as planned. For example, at the beginning of the year, when thinking about my work goals, I decided that I wanted to focus on acquiring picture books and middle grade novels as opposed to young adult. But guess what, my first three acquisitions were all young adult novels. I guess it’s kinda like dating—sometimes the best way to find what you’re looking for is to stop looking.

For the last two or three years, my work anniversary has coincided with our company’s performance review, so it’s been a great time for me to look back on the previous year, and look forward to what I want to accomplish in the upcoming year. I'm at a point in my career when the differences from year-to-year aren't as obvious as they were in the earlier stages. My job responsibilities haven't changed much in the last four years or so. What changes are some of the people I work with, the books I edit and the challenges that each different project brings, the way I approach each new milestone--how many rounds the editing process takes, how I position the jacket copy, how I present the book at our Focus meeting and librarian previews, which conferences I attend, and what new books I acquire. Each year is special because of the books.

I think the main challenges of this past year have involved book production, from learning the perfect way to reproduce Ed Young's art, and finding the right uncoated paper for the upcoming Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein, to figuring out how to publish Grace’s next novel Where the Mountain Meets the Moon in full color. Wabi Sabi looks absolutely beautiful, and I hope the production and design of Grace's novel will be as gorgeous as her text and art when it comes out next Spring.

Who knows what challenges and surprises this next year will bring? We'll know next August when I celebrate my ten-year anniversary!

4 comments:

Elaine Magliaro said...

Alvina,

So glad to hear you still love your job as an editor. Happy ninth anniversary!

I really enjoyed being an elementary teacher for more than thirty years--but I was in absolute heaven when I worked as a school librarian.

Kim Kasch said...

I haven't seen Wabi Sabi yet - but love that you used Powell's Books - my hometown hangout :D

Laura said...

Happy Belated Anniversary. Let's see, an edior anniversary, maybe would be called a....
EDIVERSARY! yes, Happy Ediversary!

~~Laura

P.F. McKinley said...

Good to hear that you still love what you do. It's definitely refreshing for those of us hoping to get our submissions read with a fresh pair of eyes from those on your side of the table.

Take care and happy anniversary!

-P.F. McKinley
www.AlexandertheSalamander.net