I think I’m gonna attach myself to the sinking ship that is book publishing – Daniel Clowes

I think I mentioned last week that I started a publishing course? Maybe? I don’t remember. Either way: I’ve started a publishing course at Ryerson. The summer intensive, where they pack 6 classes into 3 months (they weren’t kidding when they called it “intensive” – in two weeks, we’ve done the equivalent of 12 weeks of material).

It’s fascinating. We’ve spent the past two weeks doing an overview of the industry and every time we talk about a different job, my immediate reaction is “hey, I’d like to do that for the rest of my life”. And then I sit and mull it over and sometimes I decide it’s not right for me (I don’t think I have the personality to be a literary agent, as cool as their job is), while other times I can’t decide which job sounds better (right now I’m leaning toward copyediting, but we’ll see how I feel once I take the actual copyediting class in a few weeks).

For some reason, when I applied to the program, I assumed there would be a lot more writers. I’m not sure why, since it’s a publishing certificate, not a creative writing certificate, but I figured there would be  more people “like me” – more people who want to take over all aspects of the book industry. Yet there are only 2-3 other people in my class (24 students in total), who have expressed an interest in writing. So I don’t know about everyone else, but when I learn about the business side of books, I look at it with two minds: as a hopeful editor, and as an aspiring author. Which is why I (somewhat vainly and perhaps over optimistically) think I’ll do well in the publishing industry: I understand both sides of the story.

Yesterday we talked about how authors are consulted during the cover design process, but they don’t get final say: that’s the publisher/editor’s responsibility. That’s not surprising because, ideally, the publisher will know what’s best for the book (due to past experience with trends and sales and whatnot)…except the author-voice in my head pouted “But that’s my book and want it to look a certain way”. And then I had to smother that voice because I know that’s not how the business works and if authors want the public to discover their work, they (including me) have to suck up their pride and deal with other people handling  their manuscripts. An author provides the text (material), while the publisher produces the actual book. And if authors can’t handle that, then how are they going to get their story out?

Although I suppose that’s when self-publishing becomes an option…

There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about:

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