Friday, February 25, 2011

Girls in publishing review The Girls In Publishing

With a cover like that, we knew we needed to read it. Our industrious editor hunted down a copy of the book and it has been passed from desk to desk ever since.

What can we say? It lives up to the hype.

Things we learnt from reading The Girls in Publishing:

Cigarettes and whisky are acceptable during editorial meetings. Cover designers prefer hashish.

Every girl in publishing should own at least one pair of "mint-green lounging pyjamas".

If only we had husbands who were so supportive of our careers: "There was nothing about her, he thought with a deep flush of pride, that indicated she'd been working."

If you're a boy - sorry, man - in publishing, don't be afraid to turn on the charm. Say your associate editor appears at your cubicle. Why not ask her: "What can I do for you, Diana? Lunch, dinner, a moonlight picnic by the East River when your husband is conveniently not around?"

Age-appropriate dating is important: "Forty-six was hardly an age even the most liberated woman's handbook would consider ideal to attract a virile thirty-five-year-old man, much less be his wife."

It's the little things that keep the romance alive: "He noticed that she was wearing a gold pin he'd given her when they first started screwing."

In 1974, "cutting and pasting" involved real scissors and actual glue.

Agents ain't what they used to be: "Foster was a slimy, cigar-smelling, toupee-wearing man who would demand payment in bed for anything he did ... He was the best agent in the business."

Contracts were a lot messier back then too: “… the usual ten percent commission - plus one evening a week screwing until he got bored.”

Beware the notorious PUBLISHING BLACKLIST. Disgrace yourself too badly, girlie, and you'll never wield a blue pencil in this town again.

If you sleep with your boss and he dumps you, wearing a “tight lace bodysuit” to work is a sure way to regain his professional respect: “She wasn’t wearing a bra either, he noticed.”

Sure her publishing-executive husband sleeps around - but really, some women are so cold they have it coming: "'Why do kids love the zoo so much?' she complained. 'Nothing to see but animals.' She shuddered slightly."

If your colleague turns up to a party with a pretty blonde as his date, don’t be afraid to speak your mind - “‘I hear that Scandinavians are pretty sophisticated sexually,’ Kate said, in what she hoped was a cutting voice.”

The girls in publishing have a LOT of sex. But only with colleagues, agents, authors, failed authors and, at a stretch, copyright lawyers. No one outside the industry, ladies: publishing is a closed shop.


  1. Oh wow. I think you could auction this classic novel off for quite a nifty price at a publishing industry charity event... (from a fellow Girl in Publishing)

  2. Everyone should have mint green lounging pyjamas. Everything else about the book is a terrifying nightmare and probably all true in a Publisher Dearest kinda way.

  3. I want to read this so much! (another Girl in Publishing, yet to see cigarettes or whisky in meetings but eternally optimistic)

  4. Am disturbed about Foster being a cigar-smelling man. Have images of him going around smelling all the cigars he can get his slimy toupee-wearing agent's hands on. Opening his coworkers drawers to smell their cigars. Creepy.

  5. Stock up on these great Rocawear Bodysuits for your baby! Made of soft 100% cotton, these bodysuits come in all the colors of the rainbow and feature an embroidered R logo over the heart.
    Girls Bodysuit

  6. OMG! I want a copy. That's hilarious.

  7. Publishing seems very different back then from what it is now but really to eliminate such a vast quantity of the population for sex? From what I have experienced of the industry, I am yet to see such evidence.

  8. What I want to know is, how many editors at Ace read the book before it was published, and how much fun did they have doing so? Also, which real-life agent got quietly nicknamed Foster in-house?
    --Yet Another Girl in Publishing who wants a copy

  9. I'm watching "The Silence Of The Lambs" right now, so Girls Bodysuit has a much different meaning.

    Back then, your agent only got screwed once a week?

  10. That's it! I'm taking hashish and whisky to my next meeting!!

  11. This is hilarious! I had better get down to the mint green lounging pyjamas shop ;-)

  12. Oh this is brilliant. But I'm glad you gave us a summary. That much sexism might make me reach for my whisky and cigarettes :)

  13. Thank God for the mercy tosses to failed authors!

  14. What do you mean Agents ain't what they used to be: "Foster was a slimy, cigar-smelling, toupee-wearing man who would demand payment in bed for anything he did ... He was the best agent in the business."

    This describes me EXACTLY!

  15. Oh, so THAT's what I've been missing in my search for an agent. The offer of sexual favours. Hm, who knew?

    (In other news, I find it hilarious that one of the comments is spam marketing girls' bodysuits).

  16. Can your industrious editor get hold of more copies? Or perhaps Penguin could enforce a re-run... This (very new) girl in publishing wants one too!

  17. ah, good. I've got the copyright lawyer, I've got mint-green PJs, onto getting myself some whisky

  18. I need a copy of this book! Where did you find it?!

    (From another Girl in Publishing - I need to read it so I can make all these things happen. Particularly the cigarettes and whisky during editorial meetings!)

  19. Surely, SURELY, rights are now available? As a once-was-girl-in-publishing I have the PJs and the whiskey, and hell might even take up smoking again, just so I can create the right ambience to read what is clearly a cracking yarn. Snap it up Black Inc.