I like to tell this story, having told it many times before. Sitting at home, I receive a call from a friend asking if I had seen that week's copy of Business New Haven, for which she then worked.
"No, I haven't. Why?"
"Well, there's an interesting article about this guy who started a local book review, like the one you and I thought about doing years ago."
And, lo and behold, so it was. Where I no more than dreamt, another made happen. Thus was the New Haven Review of Books born. Fortunately, for me, its founder was also a fellow synagogue member. So when he entered the lobby doors, child and stroller in hand, I approached him.
"I saw the article about the New Haven Review of Books. I'd like to help."
"Oh, that's great," he replied. "Do you write?"
Do I write? That was a tough one, actually. "Sure, I write a little, but I'd rather be your publisher"—if you'll have me—I thought parenthetically. I had served as the publisher of a Jewish literary journal in graduate school and I wanted to return to that more distinctly literary scene after years in library reference publishing.
"Our publisher? You mean like sales and marketing and stuff like that…"
"Yes, stuff like that."
"Great! No one else wants to do that!"
Thus was a partnership born, and I was joined at the literary hip to an editorial collective of individuals wiser and more talented than myself—and with infinitely better connections, too.
But this was all fine by me. I like the business of publishing, from handling the filthy lucre to freaking out over missing a print deadline. True that in this endeavor I would have less occasion for the give and take of reading and responding to the lucubrations of the published and hoping-to-be-published. But would it be all too sickening to admit that I like fiddling with our circulation database, hounding subscribers for renewals, holding out my greasy palm for potential contributions, even filling out the occasional nasty legal form? Probably, but what can I say? I love it.
Publishing, for me, is in the blood—all aspects of it, from correcting misplaced commas to panhandling in the street for new readers.
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