Writer, Undercover: Lessons in Publishing (Part 1)

Snoopy-writingWriters want all the secrets. We hang on the words of published authors, as if what worked for them will open some magic door for the rest of us. We scour books on what agents want, what editors need, and what the market will withstand. We go to conferences, drink coffee by the carafe, read magazines like Writer’s Digest, and whisper to each other about query drafts. Sometimes we actually write.

It’s a treacherous way to live.

That’s why I went undercover as an editorial intern at Henery Press, a Dallas-area publishing house that specializes in mystery and suspense. What better way to learn about publishing, right?

Now in full disclosure, I didn’t really go undercover. I didn’t buy special spy-gear, create a mask with a 3D printer, or find a wig (though it would probably be neon pink if I did, probably not the best for covert operations). I didn’t hide my real name, nor did I temporarily shut down my author website for the hiring process. And I definitely didn’t tag my coworkers with secret RFID biochips to track their every movement.  They are far too much fun for that level of espionage.

Going undercover just means that I stopped thinking like a writer, to learn how to think more like a publisher.

And guess what? I’m learning all kinds of terrific publishing secrets, the kinds of things that every writer wants to know. So stay tuned…

(This is the first post in a six-part series.)

18 thoughts on “Writer, Undercover: Lessons in Publishing (Part 1)

  1. New job, huh? Looking forward to reading what you’ve learned, especially since I skipped most of your first part except for reading “Writer Digest” for a year and drinking lots of coffee.

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    1. Larry, it has definitely been educational. I’ve read so many different kinds of things since I began in November. I imagine I’ve learned things similar to when you read hours and hours of mysteries and crime thrillers (like Connelly) in preparation for writing fiction.

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  2. “And I definitely didn’t tag my coworkers with secret RFID biochips to track their every movement.”
    Are you sure?! 🙂 I am excited to read about what happens behind the closed doors of the publishing world.

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  3. 😦 “…We hang on the words of published authors, as if what worked for them will open some magic door for the rest of us…”

    All ears!!! cross that out, all eyes!!! 🙂

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