Terri Bischoff here.
Being an acquiring editor is a mixed bag. It’s a job I love. I get to do a lot of really cool things. But every job has a downside. Here’s a list of things I don’t like about my job:
- I am overworked all the time. What I am supposed to be doing is really the job of two people. Because of that, things fall through the cracks, and I feel bad about that. For example, I am insanely behind on reading submissions, both from conferences and from agents.
- I have read a lot of bad stuff before I find the good stuff I want to publish.
- I sometimes have to tell an author/agent that we will no longer be continuing a series with him or her. That especially hurts because every book I acquire, in my mind, should succeed.
- When I am at a conference, I have to be on 24/7. Mind you, this isn’t a complaint. I fully expect that when I go to a conference. But it is exhausting. I am an introvert, so the constant small talk, coupled with the question of is this going to be a pitch or is it just someone being friendly? drains me rather quickly.
- In my company, almost everything runs through the acquisitions editor. I have to be on top of all my books all of the time. If I’m not, we end up printing a book that says “Recipes Included!” but we don’t actually include them. True story.
- I hate the phrase “industry standards.” I want to see this book… because frankly, I DON’T know what Penguin or HarperCollins or anyone else is doing. I don’t know what they are paying and how their process works.
So yeah, those are some of the things I hate. And this blog idea came up because I have to tell some folks that we will no longer be publishing them. Makes me so sad.
Here are some of the things I love:
- I get to offer contracts on books that I fall in love with.
- I get to go to conferences and meet writers and agents and other editors. All the good stuff happens in bar! (This is not to say that programming isn’t important. It is very important for a new author to hone his/her craft. But making connections happens in the social time after the programming is finished.)
- Because everything runs thru me, I can control a lot of what happens in the production of our books.
- And most importantly, I love to get to know my authors. Whether it’s by email or meeting at a conference or a convention, I do my best to take time to get to know my authors. Which makes the task of dropping them a very hard thing to do. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Because I have gotten to know some pretty amazing people.