Subscribe to Jessica's exclusive newsletter

Subscribe to Jessica's newsletter

* indicates required

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Writers beware. I'm now a publishing insider.

How did this happen?

Like any good thing in this economy, I did not stumble upon my dream job through traditional search-and-résumé methods.

I wanted to start carving out a real writer's community for myself here in Tucson. The communities I was involved with from Pennsylvania were theoretical. I wanted, at the very least, a cyber community I could exchange manuscript critiques with, because I can't seem to get motivated sufficiently to write my amazing novel without some kind of outside impetus. Through the connections I forged with these goals in mind, I happened to be at a couple of different events at the same time as the founder and editor of the local wonder, Fireship Press. Naturally, I approached him immediately with a résumé, list of references, salary requirements, and hours of availability...

Of course that's a lie. I recognized that he would be fascinating to talk to, but was far too shy to start something. I was heading off to collect my husband and leave the scene when the editor approached me (apparently because I had been the only person in the group who was working on historical fiction). We had a short but hugely informative talk about the market for historical fiction and the role of series in publishing profitability. And so I went into the holidays with that breath of fresh air.

It's important to note from the day-to-day living standpoint that I have been given a volunteer, i.e., unpaid position. I haven't had any bites since my bookstore gig ended, and it looks like my husband's job isn't going to be a fast fix, either, so I figured I had nothing but time on my hands. I might as well make good use of it.

After another brief meeting, I confirmed that this was the publisher for me. Fiction! History! Innovative, grassroots methods! So I set my jaw, trying to squeeze the shyness into submission, and shot the editor an email asking whether he needed any help with his inspiring enterprise.

He did. So we met and talked it over. He said my qualifications were impressive. I received a document to translate into Spanish and a manuscript from the slush pile the next day. Thankfully, I say that so far the job has been from home. Tucson, the majestic and wide, is just not friendly to a one-car family. I should visit the premises soon, to get a look at the whole production process. In the meantime, I'm going to do such a good job that the editor will put me on the payroll, or I can at least take the experience elsewhere. Either way, the time will not have been wasted. Time spent learning never is.

Click on the ads to buy great books and support this creative endeavor.