What a change. Last week I was mostly pool side in Miami, looking out over the railing at downtown Miami while killing time, listening to the sweet cacophony of endless construction and watching carrion birds circle listlessly in the muggy air, and now, NYC.
I moved up here about five days ago. Hot, sweltering, and unlike Miami, without AC. Subway cars packed and rocking at 7.45am, people asleep on their feet, staring stony eyed at nothing, edging minutely away from each other as they subconsciously accommodate each others personal space. Dragging the futon mattress into my host’s entrance hall so as to be able to sleep before 2am as he gets wired for a night of movies and video games which invariably last till past 3 in the morning. Sitting in a small park in syrupy late afternoon sunlight, one leg crossed as I work on Chabon’s The Yiddish Police Man’s Union.
And then the job itself: the publishing world. Thus far it’s been mostly learning how systems work, how I fit into the grand scheme of things, what I need to accomplish, and how. Today was thrilling: I attended a four hour meeting as each imprint presented its current lineup of books that are about to be released, discussed marketing plans and publicity garnered and sought after, lamented the few books that weren’t selling well and applauded the best sellers. One of the authors, thrilled as to how his book is doing, sent cases of Guinness and Bass Ale to be passed out as a show of gratitude. My bottle is sitting on the table before me.
Much of the discussion was held in an esoteric code that I couldn’t crack. Numbers were bandied back and forth, statistics were examined, festivals and events were named that I’d never heard of. How many jackets are ready for back orders? What was the turn out for his signing at Prairie Lights? Is Friedman going to get the review out in time? How many copies have sold through B&N? It was a glimpse into the wheeling and dealing that goes on in back rooms and over confidential phone calls, and it was gripping. I especially loved the reports on author’s comments, reactions and feedback – it’s nice to dream, you know?
Either way, sorry for the lack of posts of late. I’ve been settling in, figuring things out, trying to keep my head above water. I’ll try to update more often as I go, so keep posted as I report from deep within publishing territory 😉