In my whole life, did I ever picture myself as a business woman? The answer is no. If I were able to go back in time and tell my 15-year-old self, 'Hey, you get to work in the book industry when you're older!' I would have said 'Cool!'. If I'd said 'Hey, you have a 9-5 desk job in a huge business office when you're older,' I would have raise my eyebrows (I can't just raise the one) and said 'You're kidding, right?'
On Thursday, I had a particularly business-like day. I was dressed smart, armed with paperwork full of computer-generated statistics and some preparatory notes, and I had my first commissioning meeting.
I'd been to commissioning meetings before, with the editors I work for. This is when we get together lots of stats, facts and figures and convince the big cheeses of the company that a book is worth publishing. Then we get them to sign the paperwork, that includes the budget and the schedule of the project, and off we trot.
On Thursday, I lead my first meeting. I had never felt more like a business woman in my life. Talking about the statistics of previous sales in the series, and budgets for the expanding series, and reasons why the book would sell. I was pretty damn nervous. Everyone I had to present to were very nice, and I'd gotten to know most of them over my six months at the company, but I really do hate having to do presentations. My editor didn't leave me high and dry, though. He knew a lot more about the book and the series than I did, and was there to back me up when people asked questions I wasn't sure how to answer.
With one amendment to the finance stats, they agreed to commission the book. So I had to re-print all the paperwork and find all the right people to sign it the next day. (I still need three signatures.)
The editor I work for bought me a bottle of wine, which was unexpected and incredibly sweet. He wants me to take over the series in the future, and it's a really good feeling knowing that he's eager to support me advance my career.
I'm still readjusting to this image of myself as a business woman. All my life I've been interested in the creative arts. And I kinda miss it.
(The Director of Salt Publishing talks about the business of publishing in an interview over at Ink, Sweat & Tears.)