The publishing industry has always been reminiscent of a wistful era where editorial assistants scurried around narrow halls in pencil skirts behind horn-rimmed glasses with their notepads and pens, high heels and nylons. They worked with rough edged paper, black ink, and luxurious cover designs in a world where everyone knew everyone.
When I read Rules of Civility by Amor Towles and watch classic movies from that time period, that world is reinforced. I can imagine the distinguished voices of Fitzgerald and Hemingway, the clinking of their glasses of Scotch and soda as they meet with their editors in dimly lit bars.
Of course, I glamorize the past, but I would love to sit across from them and discuss writing– to chat about character development and plot inspiration. I would want to know Agatha Christie’s writing routine, what her friends thought of her, and if she knew how each story would end before she even began writing. Many of my fellow publishing friends think the same way. In publishing, the workforce is full of idealistic readers that were passionate about the written word at some point of their life. Perhaps Fitzgerald described our common bond when he said: “You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone.”
Many of us fell in love with a particular book or author at an early age. For me, it was L.M. Montgomery and her description of Prince Edward Island. Emily of New Moon, Anne of Green Gables, and Pat of Silverbush all became my friends.
A lot has changed since then and as we continue moving into the digital era, there will always be something said for all of the work that goes into a book. From the acquisition, to the edits and design, all the way to how that book reaches specific audiences. I love being a part of that process and seeing authors who’ve achieved bringing a story to life.
In that respect, I’ll always be an idealist.