I don’t think I talk often enough about how much I love my job. But seriously, I love my job. I know I’ll never be able to find another like it, and I think it was pretty much made for me. I like to believe that I’m good at it, but more than that, I’m passionate about it. I’ve been a lifelong reader. One of the things my aunt mentioned when we met for dinner was how good my language skills always were (she commented on it because she was noticing how good Brianna’s language skills are). I couldn’t stand the reading out loud parts of school, because I had to listen to people stumble through passages I could breeze through. I’m sure they hated having to stumble through them more than I hated listening, but I had a child’s typical lack of insight about things like that.
I breezed through Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Sweet Valley High (I think I only read a few of those before I got tired of them) and all of the other “normal” kid books by the time I was in 3rd grade. By 4th grade, I’d moved on to category romances, Danielle Steele, Sydney Sheldon and Jean M. Aul. Heavy stuff for a 4th grader, right? But I went through it all. To this day, my favorite Sydney Sheldon book is If Tomorrow Comes, and I’ve re-read it several times.
Like every other avid reader, I toyed with the idea of “some day, I want to be an author…” and I did well at creative writing throughout school. I even worked for my local paper and wrote articles covering the “teen beat”, during high school. But I didn’t really feel driven to write and never pursued it with anything close to seriousness. In college, I made extra money polishing and revising other people’s papers. I was good at it. They got good grades 🙂 I think that should have been my first clue. But every day of my life, I read. A book a day, on average. Sometimes more. In fact, my passion for reading was actually a sore spot with my ex-fiance in college. He was my high school sweetheart and you’d think he’d have known it was part of who I am. But I think he felt resentful of it, and the time I spent on it. Notice how he’s my ex and we never even made it to the altar? Yeah, I booted that one to the curb, lol.
Fast forward a couple of years, I’m working as an occupational therapist, buying the Romantic Times magazine and making book lists from there. And I stumble across ebooks. Books I couldn’t buy in the store, or get from the library, but I wanted to read them because they sounded like nothing I’d ever read before. Some of my first ebook purchases? Linnea Sinclair, Lora Leigh, Lynne Connolly, and Cheyenne McCray. These were stories I couldn’t find anything like on the shelves. I’ve been a lifelong paranormal fan and would search out every vampire and shapeshifter book I could find. That led me to small presses like LTDBooks and authors like JC Wilder and Keri Arthur. I never would have guessed that years later, I’d be friends/acquaintances with some and edit others! I only knew at the time that they filled a wild need in me for good stories that were different than what NY was putting out.
Somehow I ended up on the Ellora’s Cave yahoo group and I started participating. Then on Jaci Burton’s Paradise and several others. I started making online friends and then the call came for proofers for EC. Like everyone else, I thought, hey! I like to read, I’m pretty good at finding typos, I could do that. So I took the test. I must have done at least moderately well because Briana St. James offered me a position (thanks, Bree!). Looking back, I shudder to think of how much I didn’t know. And I’m sure, five years from now I’ll look back and shudder at how much I didn’t know, lol!
So I worked as a proofer for awhile, started taking on some independent work for authors and learning even more. During that time, Bree encouraged me to apply for the position of editor. Oh man, I did but I was…hellishly nervous. I didn’t tell a lot of people I was doing it. Mostly because I didn’t want to be humiliated if I wasn’t hired. And I wasn’t, which was a huge blow because oh how I loved proofing for them, and I wanted to do more. But it wasn’t meant to be. During that same period of time I had Brianna and something strange happened–I stopped reading. For almost three months, I read nothing. I could barely read parenting books. Even magazines were a challenge.And fiction? Forget it. I think of that as the best and worst time of my life. Best because I gained something I love immensely and spent time discovering her. The worst because I temporarily lost something I love immensely and didn’t know how to get it back. I don’t remember now how I started again, I think I just decided enough was enough and I needed to discover myself again. And I did.
About…six months after I didn’t get the job with EC, after much encouragement from some friends (Mel, Jaci, Shan, Mandy and Bree), I decided to open my own editing services. I was just getting going when two job opportunities came along. One from EC (in a non-editorial capacity) and one for a brand new publisher opening up. Jen Martin and Jaci Burton both knew Christina Brashear was looking for editors, and they both suggested I email her. I think they both also emailed her about me. She sent me a submission to read and edit and…the rest is history. Raelene and I agreed that it wouldn’t be feasible for me to work for both companies, even in different capacities, and shortly after I also realized it wasn’t going to work to also try to run my own business (which, incidentally, was getting business!) so I ended up working for Samhain full time.
Anyway, you’re probably wondering what caused this outpouring of history. It’s to talk about how much I love this job.Love being able to work in an industry I’ve loved almost as long as I can remember. An industry that provided me with hours of pleasure. But it’s also because, while I’ve always talked about the catch-22 of working in publishing, it really hit me Wednesday night when I was preparing my Thursday Thirteen of books on my To Be Read pile. I’m doing something I love, in an industry I love, but it means I get less chance to do it for pleasure. I still collect books that I want to read, but I read (for pleasure) much more slowly now. Most certainly not one book a day. Closer to one book a week. But I collect books at a much faster rate than that. Every week there are new books releasing that appeal to me. I like a variety of genres but I find myself reading less in certain genres, for multiple reasons. I won’t even tell you how many ebooks and print books I own, that I hope to have the chance to read some day (thousands, really). I got a little depressed, wondering if I’ll ever be at a point where I can spend more time reading.
But regardless, I wouldn’t want to give this job up. Someone will have to force me out of it (I think the only people who could do that are Josh and Crissy and I don’t see Josh doing that! Maybe Crissy if I cause her enough frustration 😉 )
And I think that’s why most agents and editors do it. The hours are long, you invariably work 7 days a week (even if it’s “just” reading submissions on the weekend), the frustrations are many, the compensation doesn’t always add up for the long hours you put in but still…you dedicate more of yourself to it than you would any other job or profession. But you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, doing anything else. Because it’s not a job. It’s a passion.