The Book Reporter

October 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

The New New Yorker

Courtney Hilden

One of the things I spend a lot of time on at this internship is acquisitions, which always make me imagine myself  buying souls or bodies from a ghoul or grave-digger.  But in reality, I’m reading submissions.

Obviously, this is important because any publishing firm has to keep coming out with new books.  So my job is basically to read a submission and decide what to do with it.  If it has nothing to do with what we publish, I send a rejection letter.  If it has potential, I write a report on it, stating what it is about, and then addressing the good and bad aspects of the submission.  This means if the writing was bad, I say that.  If the argument was not well-defended, I stab my stubby little fingers through those holes and wiggle them around saying “WOHA HOLE!”  Then I make a few extra comments, like what I think within the work needs more information.  In one case, I noticed that one important example could easily be expanded into a longer story that could open the book up.  In another, I suggested a different format for the book.  And in one case, I even made a marketing suggestion.  So basically, I write reports.  Like a reporter, but with books.

I did that yesterday, then I returned a submission to another employee and we sat down and chatted about it.  She seemed to see the piece very differently than I, but more because she only looked at it briefly.

I would be more than happy with a job where I got paid to read, analyze from a certain lens, and then write a report.  It was one of the many things I liked about being an English major, all those months ago.  Also, if you did not guess already, I like stabbing my fingers in things and saying “WOHA HOLE!”  Even if it is metaphorical.

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