What I learned today: Mass-market paperbacks (PB) are like Romance-novel-style books and Trade-market paperbacks are like normal people books. When a book first comes out in paperback, it is almost always in trade-market form.
Part of my job involves being the book editor’s assistant, which is sweet. Her name is J.
J only comes to the office for like 3 hours per week, so I’d never actually met her before today (though we had been in touch through email). We had a meeting to discuss contracts–I know this sounds super boring and it is in a way. However, this is a side of book publishing I probably wouldn’t get the chance to see anywhere else: it’s the acquisitions side instead of the editorial side.
The company I work for auctions books for upwards of $20,000 (J says they sometimes try to shoot for six figures). Usually, books are only a couple thousand and are not auctioned. So, this is publishing on a nearly incomparable scale. Major publishers like Penguin, St. Martins, Simon & Schuster, etc., all attend auction to blow significant cash on non-fiction slash health books.
Some of the UNwritten rules of Publishing written down for your viewing pleasure:
(1) Always assign an author before assigning a writer. For non-fiction health books, there is commonly an author (or two), who is a doctor/knowledgeable about the topic, and a writer, who is really awesome at writing.
(2) Don’t send signed contracts to the publisher until all of the authors have signed their author contracts. If you do, it’s possible that the author won’t sign the contract and then you’re screwed because you’ve already promised the publisher a book.