Saturday Morning Cartoon (your audio-visual guide to the publishing industry)

I wasn't at all surprised last week when my agent told me that Marjorie Braman, who edited my last two books at Harper Collins before she went to Morrow, was moving over to Holt as ed-in chief. She's a brilliant editor and a terrific human being. (Something the publishing industry definitely needs right now: more Marjorie Braman.) Meanwhile, Sarah Durand is taking her thriller instinct to Atria, and earlier this summer, it was announced that Jane Friedman was out, Brian Murray in as CEO of Harper Collins.

It's good to learn early in the publishing biz is that people at all levels of the industry do this huge round of musical chairs every summer. Your editor's assistant turns up as a publicist at another house. That publicist is now editing someplace else. A new boss comes in, bringing in people she enjoyed working with here and there, and knowing there's going to be a shift in editorial direction, editors fold their tents and migrate. It's impossible for writers to keep up with all this. That's why God created agents. What writers do need to take from this, however, is that publishing is a small town. Nobody's more than one or two degrees of separation from you at any given time, so you want to be cool to everyone from the CEO who stops by to meet you for five seconds to the underling who offers you coffee when you walk in the door. Act badly toward anyone, and it will come back to bite you in the ass, I promise.

And now, to help you understand the true essential interpersonal politics of the publishing industry, I offer this classic audio-visual aid:


Good reminder of why it never pays to burn bridges or trash talk other pros. Publishing's really a small world, a point that's been recently hammered home to me.

I've repeatedly seen authors (as well as a few editors and agents) completely sabotage themselves with unprofessional behavior. That sort of thing gets around incredibly quickly.

Congrats to Marjorie and the other editors on the latest round of promotions!

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