Every Wednesday, I'll have an essay or a feature on any topic that catches my fancy!
This Saturday is Valentine's Day and while several singles I know wallow in pity and despair, I'll try to be more positive. Having said that, here are some letters to people I feel are under-appreciated in the publishing industry:
You never get enough credit for all that you've done. Your name never graces a book's cover. You are always under the shadow of the author. Some people don't even know you exist. When I approach a fellow bibliophile, they'll name their favorite author or editor but if you ask them to name a translator, few are even able to come up with any name, much less one they love. You pore over someone else's words for weeks, months, sometimes even years. You try to understand them as best you can and find the appropriate words in another language. And then you edit, edit, edit. If there is a mistake, canny readers will blame you. If you do everything right, it is the author who is praised.
You go by many different names and many different tasks yet your goals are all the same. Your tasks seem endless as you contact various bookstores and media. Authors will complain that you don't promote their book often enough. You get harassed by an endless stream of people requesting review copies. Some will even mock your concepts and designs, whether it's book covers or ads or book trailers. After all the haggling, bribing, coercing, and networking, one's time never seems enough as there'll always be the next book or author to promote.
The slush piles are deep and for every gem uncovers, one must go through ten horrible or mediocre stories. Unsolicited manuscripts land in your mail or inbox. Some writers demand feedback or assail you with insults and death threats. Even your form letters are scrutinized. There are even squabbles with the writers whose stories that you do accept. And then there's everything else involved in getting the publication out, such as sending out contracts and making sure you got everyone's name right.