Not to be missed, if you want an inside look at today's mainstream publishing scene, is Daniel Menaker's blunt summary for the online Barnes & Noble Review. Menaker is former executive editor-in-chief at Random House and fiction editor of The New Yorker, as well as a novelist, short-story writer and reviewer.
Here's a little taste:
Speaking of the need for attention, if it hasn't become clear by now, you must be prepared to suffer transference from your writers as much as any therapist is by his or her patients. Usually, writers, like anyone else who performs in public and desires wide recognition, no matter how successful they become, have an unslakeable thirst for attention and approval—in my opinion (and, I'm embarrassed to say, in my own case) usually left over from some early-childhood deficit or perception of deficit in the attention-and-approval department. You will frequently find yourself serving as an emotional valet to the people you work with. It can be extremely onerous and debilitating, especially given the ever-decreasing number of your colleagues and the consequent expansion of your workload.
Writing's a tough racket, as they say, but based on the evidence in Menaker's piece, publishing may be worse.
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