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March 11, 2016

Come Work for Me
Posted by Patrick at 04:22 PM * 64 comments

Be an editorial assistant to me and a couple of other Tor editors. (I’m the Executive Editor mentioned in the job description; the other two are Miriam Weinberg and Jen Gunnels.) Hard work, long hours, and you will learn SF and fantasy publishing like whoa.

If this interests you, respond online at the linked job description, not by emailing me your resume. My inbox thanks you.

This job is one of two editorial-assistant positions we’re listing today. The other one will involve working for my colleague Liz Gorinsky and serving as Tor’s in-house liaison/coordinator with manga publisher Seven Seas, which Tor distributes.

To quote both listings, “We are an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to reflecting a broad representation of differences—race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, physical ability, age, family status, economic background and status, geographical background and status, and perspective—in our workplace.” We mean it, too.

Comments on Come Work for Me:
#1 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2016, 05:23 PM:

To be clear, I have no problem with people talking about this in our comment section, or even asking questions. Just don't apply via this route. :-)

I point out also that these job listings specify no specific past experience or education requirements.

#2 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2016, 05:32 PM:

Oh, dear. This is a job I could dream about wanting. I could even maybe wrap my head around moving to NYC—one of the two places* that could challenge Boulder's grip on me.

But, leaving aside that we couldn't afford each other, editing not Zathras thing. ::wistful sigh::

* The other being Vancouver, BC.

#3 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2016, 05:34 PM:

21yo me is weeping salty tears. Current me is merely wistful. Unless you'd like to move to Boston? We have many fabulous local cons!

#4 ::: Arkady Martine ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2016, 05:39 PM:

... enormously complex emotions, last year I would have been ALL OVER THIS, Patrick. This year I live in Sweden and have another calendar year on my contract with the university I'm working at.

But, y'know. Want. (Except it'd probably get weird, working editorial in a field I write in.)

#5 ::: Paul Weimer ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2016, 05:46 PM:

Awfully tempting (says the expat New Yorker who lives in Minnesota)

#6 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2016, 05:48 PM:

Yeah, dream job, but I moved out of NYC for good and sufficient reasons....

#7 ::: Sherwood Smith ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2016, 07:43 PM:

Oh, wow, I wish I were twenty years younger.

#8 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2016, 07:49 PM:

I wish I were fifty years younger.

#9 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2016, 08:17 PM:

Hey, it might actually be interesting to take the job as a retiree! They say they're open to age diversity (and I absolutely believe that, from my experiences with the folks at Tor). If the idea really floats your boat, go for applying. The worst that can happen is you'll get accepted and really have to make a decision.

As David Hartwell often said: "Don't reject yourself. That's my job." And this time: that's Patrick's job.

#10 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2016, 08:28 PM:

Something Patrick forgot to mention is that the position explicitly does not require a degree. An extremely literate and well-organized autodidact will do just fine.

#11 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2016, 08:33 PM:

No, I was wrong. Patrick said 'no specific education requirements,' though IMO that's not the same thing as No Degree Required.

#12 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2016, 08:34 PM:

If I thought I could afford to move...which I can't. (It's been more than 40 years since I made my one trip to NYC.)

#13 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2016, 09:31 PM:

Curses! The time machine is in the shop again!

(This would have been so perfect in 1971...)

#14 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2016, 09:43 PM:

Leaving aside the many issues this would raise, I don't think I could handle this at this stage of my life.

I am fantasizing up a storm, though.

#15 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2016, 09:55 PM:

Out of curiosity, how many applications do you usually receive for an opening like this?

#16 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2016, 10:01 PM:

Steve C.: There is no "usually". Openings like this are rare, much less two of them at once. In other words, not enough data points to answer fairly.

#17 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2016, 10:19 PM:

PNH @ #16 -

Fair enough. Generally speaking, at a Fortune 500 firm, they will receive a couple of hundred resumes for a developer/business analyst slot, and about five of those make it to the interview process, depending on the narrowness of the requirements.

#18 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2016, 10:36 PM:

"Losing My Religion" acoustic version recorded in Holland in 1991.

#19 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2016, 10:37 PM:

Sorry, wrong topic.

#21 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2016, 01:03 AM:

There's no chance Tor would entertain telecommuting for this position...? ::props chin on hands:: ::sighs some more::

#22 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2016, 01:27 AM:

*sigh* If we could afford to move to / live in NYC, we wouldn't need the job...

#23 ::: Anastasia ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2016, 03:35 AM:

Alas, if only telecommuting were an option.

#24 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2016, 10:28 AM:

I join in the wistful chorus. We'll see if sharing this with friends (and sharing the various refrains of, "Where was this in 2009, or 10, or 11, or 12, when I had fewer roots and argh," and, "This will never ever happen again, see previous whine, and I will be horrible forever if I don't try!" and a couple more and then, "OH SHUT UP BRAIN!") talks me into applying.

#25 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2016, 08:59 PM:

Fortunately, I'm away over on the other side of the planet, so I can sigh wistfully without having to face the fact that I'd probably actually be completely terrible at the job as described.

#26 ::: lylassandra ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2016, 10:47 PM:

I join the chorus of "if only". This would be my dream job if I were in a position to move to NYC. I may forward to my best friend who DOES live there...

#27 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2016, 11:20 AM:

As for number of applicants, Melissa said on my facebook wall that the last time Tor had an editorial assistant opening, she saw more than 200 applications.

#28 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2016, 01:03 PM:

I'm with everyone else on the "my (self - 25 years)'s dream job" carnival float.

Just sayin'.

<evil_charlie>Hey, if you could move the workflow entirely onto the internet you could probably crowdsource these jobs and have people pay for the privilege of gofering for you ...!</evil_charlie>

#29 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2016, 02:15 PM:

@ Charlie Stross

To heck with "25." It's a dream job now, but I can't afford New York, so I'd have to live in my van... no place for a 52-year-old guy. On the other hand, I'd be such a great editorial assistant that everyone would call me the "Great Old One" and we'd have to get a personalized license plate for my van that read "RLEYH."

#30 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2016, 05:30 PM:

It's worth pointing out, to those saying they can't afford New York, that the job presumably comes with a salary commensurate with living, however well, in the city. This is a job, not an unpaid internship.

You will probably not be doing three-martini lunches with the wolves of Wall Street on a regular basis given an editorial assistant's salary, but then again that life isn't all it's cracked up to be.

#31 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2016, 07:10 PM: reports that the average editorial assistant salary in NYC is $33,500.,13_IM615_KO14,33.htm

#32 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2016, 09:08 PM:

Kevin: Well, sure, if you're comfortable living in a converted linen closet. Brooklyn or other borough might be doable, but me, personally, I'd be allergic to the commuting.

#33 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2016, 07:50 AM:

*sigh* In the meantime, if anyone's looking for an epidemiologist in the SE US starting in May....

On the bright side, if I don't find a job I could finish the novel and submit it to Tor.

#34 ::: Amy ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2016, 08:28 AM:

Is there a closing date for applications, or will they be read as received?

#35 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2016, 08:47 AM:

We'll stop looking when we find the right two people.

#36 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2016, 08:51 AM:

Sorry, that didn't directly answer the question posed in #34. No, we are not planning to collect whatever comes in before a certain date and then making a decision then. We're looking at applications as they come in.

What I will say is that it's really important that we get this right, so we're likely to take our time on it.

#37 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2016, 03:19 PM:

Oh, good; I have a friend who's offline this week who might want to look at the listing.

#38 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2016, 07:23 PM:

Jacque @32: Individual mileage may vary. Brooklyn is lovely, and, speaking personally, a forty minute commute by subway in the morning beats a twenty minute commute by car---not least in that it provides great reading time.

#39 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2016, 12:09 AM:

Kevin: Forty minutes. ::shudder:: I'm only willing to do forty minutes per leg if I'm exercising into the bargain. :-)

I commuted to Denver for a year for school back in '76. ~30mins each way.

I swore I would never ever ever ever do that again.

But, yeah, M(literally!)V.

#40 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2016, 01:41 AM:

My commute by bus takes nearly an hour. I only have to do it three days a week, which helps.

#41 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2016, 06:06 AM:

Sadly, the commute from England is probably not feasible. (Though, come to think of it, it wouldn't take that much longer than some I've done in the past!)

#42 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2016, 07:20 AM:

While I'm not comfortable with the idea of a 40 minute commute's not that long by American or World standards (it's above average by American standards, which are on the short side).

And many many people do find commuting by subway, especially (also somewhat by bus) much less of a strain; they don't have to be alert, don't have to depend on the cooperation of the other drivers just to get back home alive, and sometimes can use the time to read or maybe even use a computer.

Doing mass transit commuting locally, I found it took more than twice as long as driving, wasn't good for combining the commute with any other errands, and it was often too crowded or too cold to even read a paperback; this was buses, though we've built light rail since then to cover most of this same route, and that or subway might be much better. The tradeoffs are of course very different in NYC; in particular the time for driving, and the cost of parking a car at both ends of the commute, are kind of staggering.

(I did once, years ago, transport an electric ditto machine from St. Paul to Minneapolis by public transit. That involved walking with it a few blocks at each end, too. This was not an experience I would care to repeat today.)

#43 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2016, 07:22 AM:

(Oops; meant to include above that my info about commute times are from this Economist article from 2011.)

#44 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2016, 01:10 PM:

I have suddenly developed an urge to be 36 years younger (with knowledge and experience intact). This sounds like the perfect job for me at 24. Somehow, I can't see myself doing it at my current age unless it somehow paid enough for an apartment in reasonable commuting range of Manhattan.

#45 ::: Konrad ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2016, 05:49 PM:

"And we mean it, too."

Translation: Straight white men need not apply.

#46 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2016, 06:08 PM:

Konrad @45:

Bless your cotton socks. Someone would answer you seriously, but honestly, it's clear you're not interested in a serious answer. So really, why waste the time?

#47 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2016, 03:38 PM:

Konrad @45: the manpain is heavy in you.

(Have you considered trying poppers?)

More seriously, employment discrimination is frequently very, very illegal indeed: but I can testify (as a Tor author) that Tor does, indeed, employ straight white men so Konrad is off-base right from the outset.

#48 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2016, 05:13 PM:

Konrad isn't listening. He just fired that off on his way to a Trump rally.

#49 ::: Konrad ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2016, 02:09 PM:

Charles, you misunderstand me. I was referring to this one minor position. Obviously Tor doesn't discriminate against straight white males who they think can make some bucks for them. They lavished a shitload of money on (assumed) straight, (no-one-whiter than) male John Scalzi that could have gone to emerging LGBT, female, and POC writers; but for minor staff positions they can afford to indulge their virtue signaling urges.

#50 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2016, 02:29 PM:

I'm feeling the need to bust out the Michael-Jackson-eating-popcorn gif, here.

#51 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2016, 03:03 PM:

It does appear to be appropriate.

#52 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2016, 04:00 PM:

Konrad @49:

There was no way anyone was going to unpack that from your comment at 45. It's almost like you're picking multiple positions to snipe from.

Either Tor isn't diverse enough (white male authors!) or it's too diverse (no white men need apply!). The only way these two positions are mutually compatible is if you ignore the fact that a good way to get a diverse pool of authors is to have a diverse staff of editors acquiring them.

The other thing you might not care to acknowledge about the industry is that Tor makes money off of its well-paid authors. I strongly suspect that they expect to make a fuckton of money off of Scalzi. I furthermore gather that that kind of money is what allows them to take chances on a wider variety of authors. That's the way that the publishing industry works.

Tell you what: try to make your next comment actually interesting.

#53 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2016, 05:50 PM:

Konrad @ 49 -

The comments about John Scalzi are straight out of the Teddy Beale coloring book, and just as moronic.

#54 ::: Konrad ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2016, 06:10 PM:

Abi @ 52:

I don't know why you find this so difficult to understand. It's called "Window Dressing." The company loudly hires minorities or women and puts them in staff positions to show how progressive they are. The important editorial positions remain the domain of white males (PNH, Hartwell, etc.), who continue to hand out the big bucks and contracts to other white males (Card, Stross, Scalzi) Sure, PNH expects to make a profit off Scalzi which - maybe - might go toward LGBT, female and POCs; but it's far more likely to go into even bigger payouts for the cash cow white guys. And the fact that Scalzi's first book on his new contract has been pushed back to 2017 doesn't bode well as a good bet for PNH. But as he and PNH are white dudes I'm sure even disappointing sales won't mean Scalzi won't be cashing Tor checks for years to come.

#55 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2016, 06:42 PM:

Konrad @54:

Well, that was dull and predictable, as well as showing a risible grasp of the realities of the publishing business. But you've had your say.

If you want to add anything more to the conversation, make it amusing or worthwhile and I'll bring it out of moderation.

#56 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2016, 06:54 PM:

Abi #55: Darn, I had some nice mockery lined up, but it hardly seems fair to use it since you've sent him straight past disemvoweling to moderation.

#57 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2016, 07:03 PM:

David @56:

Mockery wasn't going to get through the thick skin of preconceptions any more than argument or disemvoweling. And it was going to be boring and tiresome to watch him persist.

Sometimes you have to just let them go back to their pocket universes and declare what victory they can. Cotton socks, bless them, yeah.

#58 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2016, 03:44 AM:

Konrad, congratulations on being even more content-free in your two subsequent unpublished comments than you were before. It's kind of an achievement.

But not one worth the time of this community.

#59 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2016, 10:11 AM:

Aw, Abi, I check in after a few days, see comment 49, and was just getting my creative mockery gland pumping juices and you have to spoil the fun by being sensible ...!

It seems to me, as a Tor author who also works with a couple of other major publishers, that Tor's editorial and management structure is rather more replete with straight white males than is the norm in the industry. Taking steps to address this is, in the long term, a good business move, insofar as the market demographics for speculative fiction are a constantly moving target and straight white males have always been a minority of the customer base (women read more fiction than men, just for starters).

But really, Konrad doesn't seem to have a coherent point, unless it's something vague like "ook, Tor bad (because specious justification of the day)". I suspect he's spent too long listening to that utter rumplefyke[*] Ted Beale, or maybe Daryush Valizadeh. Either way, he's not merely not on the same planet as right; he's so far away from it he'd have to rent time on the Hubble telescope to catch a glimpse.

[*] Rumplefyke: my favourite new-found Scottishism.

#60 ::: Wrye ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2016, 02:40 PM:

As a Canadian (thus not able to work in the US at the drop of the hat) Dad of 2 little ones (thus not able to move easily) but with at least three career wrong turns/dead ends under my belt, I'm asking this more out of curiosity than with an eye to applying (though single jobless me from about 8 years ago would have thrown their hat in anyway, plausibility be damned)...

How does someone know if they'd be *good* at editing? I'm good at writing, I'm good at reading, I have a collection of Humanities-related letters after my name, but...what are the intangibles that mark a talent for this line of work? Alternatively, what qualities are the gatekeepers looking to keep outside of the gates?

#61 ::: Alexander Reubert ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2016, 07:11 PM:

Just applied! And excited! I appreciate the heads-up.

#62 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2016, 05:18 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @44 writes:
> I have suddenly developed an urge to be 36 years younger (with knowledge and experience intact).

It doesn't take an editorial assistant position at Tor to make me feel that way.

#63 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2016, 02:03 PM:

How does someone know if they'd be *good* at editing? I'm good at writing, I'm good at reading, I have a collection of Humanities-related letters after my name, but...what are the intangibles that mark a talent for this line of work?

An eye for detail, a ability to spot errors, a gift for organization both of speech and space, and to do all these things with kindness and diplomacy, and be able to do so when up against a deadline.

Plus, do you enjoy going over a written piece and polishing it? If you don't, then this sort of work is going to either bore or frustrate you. It used to be something that was part of a secretary's duty...

(At least, that's what I'd look for -- Patrick may have different qualifications in mind.)

#64 ::: Guess ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2016, 02:16 PM:

Out of curiosity... can you give an estimate of 'long hours'? Pure curiosity. I'm not applying.

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