Back to previous post: The awesome Laurie Penny

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Open thread 213

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

July 26, 2016

So, this happened
Posted by Patrick at 11:18 AM * 71 comments

Changes at Tor

It’s a big change, and a lot of new responsibility. And I won’t deny that I’ve had moments of self-doubt as it was all coming together. But it’s the right thing. And Devi Pillai is outstanding.

To clarify one thing: I’m still an editor. I still plan to work with the books and authors I’ve got, and to bring new ones to the house. No matter what my business card says, there isn’t any future version of Tor in which I would stop doing that.

Comments on So, this happened:
#1 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 11:36 AM:

Congratulations on the promotion, Patrick!

#2 ::: Geri Sullivan ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 11:43 AM:

Congratulations, Patrick! Tor is fortunate,indeed, to have you in your new role.

#3 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 11:49 AM:

Congratulations, Patrick! This seems like a natural culmination of much fine work.

#4 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 12:00 PM:

Congratulations. What does an Associate Publisher do? (I assume it's more than just associating with the publishers... <grin>)

#5 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 12:01 PM:

Congratulations and felicitations! This is really wonderful.

#6 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 12:03 PM:

"Associate publisher" basically means you're part of the firm's upper management team.

#7 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 12:04 PM:


#8 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 12:08 PM:

So very pleased for you!

#9 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 12:09 PM:

Mazel tov on the promotion!

#10 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 12:30 PM:

Wow! That's excellent and you totally deserve it! Congratulations!

#11 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 12:30 PM:

Congratulations, and thank you for the clarification about your continuing role as an editor; I saw the news over on and had been wondering about that.

#12 ::: arkessian ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 12:31 PM:

Yay! And (in typical British style) Well done sir. My congratulations.

#13 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 12:34 PM:

Congratulations, again!

#14 ::: James Harvey ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 12:49 PM:



Can someone explain to the ignorant of the publishing industry what an associate publisher does versus an executive editor?


#15 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 01:05 PM:

Congratulations, Patrick, everyone involved! And to all of us readers, too--looking forward to many more years of good books from Tor!

#16 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 01:06 PM:

Felicitations, Patrick!

#17 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 01:34 PM:

Congratulations! It's good to see at least one of my friends doing well in the current economy...

#18 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 01:38 PM:

James Harvey, #14: see comment #6. An associate publisher is presumed to be one of the people helping run the firm.

#19 ::: Cathy Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 02:15 PM:

Congratulations on this promotion Patrick! It sets up Tor for much continued success in the future.

#20 ::: Fred ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 03:05 PM:


#21 ::: Laurence Raphael Brothers ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 03:31 PM:

Happy to hear of the promotion!

#22 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 03:41 PM:

So many good things are happening at Tor. Admittedly, Patrick getting promoted to Associate Publisher is my favorite of them.

#23 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 03:56 PM:


#24 ::: Nick Alcock ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 04:01 PM:

It *is* nice to hear good news now and then in a world that lately seems saturated only with the bad stuff.

Congratulations, Patrick!

#25 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 04:43 PM:


#26 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 04:50 PM:

Congratulations Patrick! It sounds like good times at Tor.

#27 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 04:53 PM:


#28 ::: Joshua Kronengold ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 06:02 PM:


#29 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 06:19 PM:

Congratulations, and good to see you'll still be editing as well.

#30 ::: Wrye ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 06:30 PM:

Bravo! Great to see.

#31 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 06:45 PM:

Many, many congratulations, sir.

#32 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 08:02 PM:

Mazel Tov, and congratulations!

#33 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 08:40 PM:

Congratulations, Patrick!

#34 ::: Nancy Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 08:49 PM:

Yay for you!

#35 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 09:19 PM:

Well done, Tor, and well deserved, Patrick! Congratulations to all!

#36 ::: Tamlyn ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 09:33 PM:


#37 ::: Ellen Asher ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 11:31 PM:

Congratulations! It's very well deserved.

#38 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2016, 11:48 PM:

*confetti* Congratulations!

#39 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2016, 12:54 AM:

Congratulations! An excellent choice on Tor's part.

#40 ::: Lylassandra ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2016, 03:55 AM:

Congratulations! I'm sure you'll do an amazing job.

#41 ::: supergee ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2016, 05:50 AM:

Hooray, congrats, etc.

#42 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2016, 05:55 AM:


#43 ::: James Harvey ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2016, 06:13 AM:

pnh #18 Thanks Patrick: this is obviously a big change and an awesome responsibility! Good luck with it.

#44 ::: Michael J. Walsh ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2016, 09:21 AM:


#45 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2016, 09:37 AM:


Soon you will have access to the hidden floor of the Flatiron where . . . but I have said too much.

#46 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2016, 09:43 AM:


#47 ::: Priscilla King ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2016, 10:26 AM:

Congratulations! (I hope to publish speculative fiction with Tor some day.)

#48 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2016, 10:26 AM:


#49 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2016, 10:29 AM:

So interesting to discover that the seemingly obvious from within an industry is completely opaque outside of it.

I'm an executive editor. That means I have the skills and experience to manage an editorial department -- supervise and train editors, manage and balance their lists and task allocations, handle personnel problems and interface with the rest of the company to represent the needs of an editorial department to a publisher.

Publisher is a job category above any kind of editor. A publisher oversees the entire company: sales, marketing, publicity, art, production, everything. Publishers set print runs and determine budgets, they set the direction of the house, they handle the financial and business responsibilities. Publishers can be drawn from any area of publishing -- it's actually unusual for a Publisher to have been an editor. Tom Doherty was Sales, for instance.

These are jobs and skill sets. To people within the industry, they define what you can do, and what can be expected of you. Going from executive editor (or editorial director, or editor-in-chief, all analogous titles that people at that level tend to bounce between depending on where they're working) to associate publisher means that your responsibility and workload have approximately doubled.

Patrick is justly getting congratulations from most people. Me, I'll buy him drinks. I know enough to know that it's a job I don't want. But I'm really glad he's going to be doing it. He'll be great.

#50 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2016, 10:47 AM:

All the congratulations. No, wait, I'll send out for more. More congratulations, to you and to Devi both.

#51 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2016, 10:54 AM:

Congratulations, Patrick. Happy for you.

#52 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2016, 01:05 PM:

What a step! I congratulate you and wish you stamina, growth, clear perception, support from all directions, and opportunities to make a difference.

#53 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2016, 01:21 PM:

Congratulations, Patrick! I hope the new duties increase the enjoyable parts of your job rather than taking you further away from them (as promotions so often seem to do).

#54 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2016, 01:44 PM:

Devi Pillai! I met her once, I think, at an N.K. Jemisin reading or book launch. Pillai edited Jemisin's debut novel and many Jemisin novels to follow (Jemisin's praise of Pillai), plus of course books by a bunch of other authors. As an Indian-American I am always on the lookout for superneat people of Indian heritage, and it makes me particularly happy to see a person who shares this bit of my identity earning such responsibility and honor in SFF.

#55 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2016, 01:52 PM:

Congratulations, Patrick! May you have everything you need to cope with the new responsibilities.

#56 ::: Rosa QuiƱones ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2016, 04:01 PM:

Congratulations, Patrick!

#57 ::: Edmund Schweppe ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2016, 04:27 PM:

Congratulations, Patrick!

And extra thanks to Beth Meacham @49 for the explanation of just how big a deal this really is!

#58 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2016, 08:29 AM:

I've been holding off dropping by to say "congratulations" until I could hit "send" on the checked page proofs of the novel of mine Patrick is publishing next January ...

... but now it's time to say "congratulations"!

(Parenthetically: I've been expecting something like this announcement for a while now, and as a Tor author it's a huge relief to know that these appointments will be in place well ahead of Tom's eventual retirement.)

#59 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2016, 10:04 AM:

Congratulations! (Is there a list of books you edited, somewhere? Because I read a bunch of books last week, and I remember seeing your name as editor on one of them. I thought it was Company Town, but that is not the case. Good book, Tor book, just not your book.)

#60 ::: David Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2016, 01:51 PM:

Mazel tov!

#61 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2016, 08:25 PM:


#62 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2016, 02:39 PM:

I'm so happy to see Tor blossoming and very excited for you Patrick, and your new and extant colleagues

Mostly, though, I have greedy expectations of even moar good things to read.

#63 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2016, 08:30 PM:

Congratulations and best of luck going forward!

#64 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2016, 09:10 PM:

Belated but heartfelt congratulations; like Charlie, I'm glad to see signs of continuity in the management that has made Tor such an outstanding publisher.

beth meacham @ 49: So interesting to discover that the seemingly obvious from within an industry is completely opaque outside of it. Doesn't every industry have its own argot? Some of it is adjectives and context; cf "producer" = "person who overrides the director's cut"(*) vs "assistant producer" = "anything down to gofer" (an exaggeration from Sturgeon). Or the fact that tomatoes, squash, and such are fruit in a formal definition. In any case, thanks for the clarification; I had seen the news (not just this but the cascade of promotions) but was not sure of the meaning.

(*) ~recent definition; Houseman's autobiography suggests that producers were once packagers, subordinate to the ]whims[ of studio executives whose titles I forget.

#65 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2016, 10:38 AM:

CHip: you want added whackiness? Try dealing with the BBC.

In Hollywood-speak, a Producer is someone who stumps up the money for a production, and a Director is the person who actually makes the movie, dealing with the nuts and bolts of the process.

But in BBC-speak, and thus throughout the British TV and radio sector, a Producer is the person in charge of production on a program, in other words the one who tells the actors, writers, camera folks, and so on what to do; meanwhile, a Director is an executive within the corporation who organizes funding and pushes through a string of shows.

In other words, a Director is a Producer and a Producer is a Director, depending on whether we're dealing with the American or British TV industries.

And I'm sure something similar probably happens in branches of the jokingly-named "publishing" industry other than trade fiction book publishing.

#66 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2016, 01:32 PM:

[FX: one small party hooter tooting]


#67 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2016, 04:02 PM:


#68 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2016, 09:46 PM:


#69 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2016, 12:38 AM:

Just saw this. Congratulations, Patrick!

#70 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2016, 05:02 AM:

The BBC seems to be a little confused over how they use the Producer and Director. I just checked the end credits of one of last years Doctor episodes, and Moffat is listed as "Executive Producer", with a flurry of more-standard terms ibn the credits, such as "Assistant Director". I get the impression that, while the older BBC meanings might still be there, they're shifting towards the customary job-titles of the trade.

A further check shows that the "Producer" and "Directoe" get their names in the Opening credits, but the pattern on the BBC website makes more sense it they're using the Hollywood style: a different "Director" from episode to episode, and the same "Producer"

Maybe there are "Directors" in more senior offices who don't get on-screen credits.

Obviously Charlie has seen the process from a different direction, but it is possible that a lot of the apparent change is associated with the BBC output being produced by so many more outside companies.

#71 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2016, 01:05 PM:

Congratulations on the promotion, Patrick!

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

Comments containing more than seven URLs will be held for approval. If you want to comment on a thread that's been closed, please post to the most recent "Open Thread" discussion.

You can subscribe (via RSS) to this particular comment thread. (If this option is baffling, here's a quick introduction.)

Post a comment.
(Real e-mail addresses and URLs only, please.)

HTML Tags:
<strong>Strong</strong> = Strong
<em>Emphasized</em> = Emphasized
<a href="">Linked text</a> = Linked text

Spelling reference:
Tolkien. Minuscule. Gandhi. Millennium. Delany. Embarrassment. Publishers Weekly. Occurrence. Asimov. Weird. Connoisseur. Accommodate. Hierarchy. Deity. Etiquette. Pharaoh. Teresa. Its. Macdonald. Nielsen Hayden. It's. Fluorosphere. Barack. More here.

(You must preview before posting.)

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.