Documents for a Museum of Publishing?
[Finally, after Charleston and Eric Garner and a number of unarmed black teens fatally shot by police for minor non-crimes, it has suddenly became permissible, in America, to talk about institutional racism. Until that moment, anyone who mentioned the subject was slapped with a canned response: "Race Card!"
But people (some people, Fox News and its vast booboisie following excluded) have now opened their eyes and realized that, despite mega-actor Will Smith, Literary Shah-en-shah Salman Rushdie and President Barack Obama, institutional racism is still prevalent for the vast majority.]
These are the afterthoughts to one of the most powerful chapters in my book, The Killing of an Author--not surprisingly, a chapter that the Publishers Weekly reviewer chose to remain silent about (and you can easily guess why when you read the book).
So what is the reality, then, in the publishing industry--at least the reality that existed around fifteen years back? Many would-be writers or would-be editors enter the publishing industry at very low starting salaries, or as unpaid or semi-paid interns, all in the hope that, sometime soon, they will get a promotion, and eventually end up earning six-figure salaries as agents or senior editors in big publishing companies. If those who enter thus have a trust fund or family money to back them up, or come from elite universities, they can afford to leave a job they discover to have unethical components; in any case, they get promoted up the ranks very quickly: class is still a factor in elite circles. When I interviewed for a job at The National Lampoon (the humorous/satirical magazine), I noticed, later, that everyone who worked there came from Harvard or the Harvard Lampoon, and that, probably, they had called me in just out of curiosity. (In any case, I'm terrible at interviews; I'm usually much better than the way I present myself, which is shy, anxious, diffident. And I never went to charm school.)