Saturday, December 8, 2007

My theory, which is mine

I'm told Library Journal is looking for science fiction and fantasy reviewers. Pro: reviews are bylined. Con: you don't get paid. For those of you who are looking to pad (or start) your reviewing résumés before moving on to paying gigs*, this might be a good way to go. Send cover letters and clips/links (if you don't have clips or links, whip up a review in Library Journal style and send that) to and I'll forward them on to the appropriate person.

* My standard advice to people who want to break into editing, reviewing, or other journalistic pursuits: do it for non-paying publications for precisely as long as you need to build your résumé and get paying gigs, and then stop. I love me some non-paying venues, and you can find plenty of them on my client list; they absolutely helped me get started as a journalist, and it feels great to work on free and donation-only publications and know you're helping to support the writers whose stories they buy. If you're considering this as a career, however, you probably can't afford to give your time away once there are people who are willing to pay for it.

We finished up the last real December issue today. It was a big push to get it all done; the last issue of the month includes notes as well as full reviews, and I had to reorganize my drop at the last minute because I wanted to include a starred review (I try for one per week) and none of the books I had planned to include turned out to be star-worthy. Fortunately, I got in two starred reviews over the last few days, so I swapped one of them in. Unfortunately, I was swapping it with a review I'd already edited, which meant more work to get the drop ready. Fortunately, that means next week I'll start out with one review done. All in all, a good deal, and I managed to get it done by 5 today, which is what I needed to do.

I continue to fuss with organizing my workspace. Last week I went to my mother's place and noticed that she'd acquired an old-fashioned perpetual calendar, the sort with dials you turn to display the day, month, and weekday. Aha, I thought, and after some rummaging around, found a couple I liked on eBay and bid on them. They arrived on Wednesday and I brought them in to work yesterday. Now my drop stacks have little brass perpetual calendars on them, and the drop that's due on December 14th will always be the drop that's due December 14th, so as I move the stack of books along my desk (from the TWO WEEKS position to the NEXT WEEK position to the THIS WEEK position, because redundancy is your friend**), the label on it will stay the same and I'll be able to tell the due date at a glance. It also adds a little retro touch to the décor, which I quite like.

** In engineering, that is. Less so in writing.

Sadly, month paperweights don't seem to exist--which baffles me! Doesn't anyone else in the world have piles of papers or books organized by month that need to be clearly labeled?--so I continue to use colored stickers and folded paper "paperweights" for the stacks of books not yet assigned to drops. Anyone who can find me simple, inexpensive paperweights displaying the names of months in some reasonably legible font will be my friend forever. I'm really about ready to go dig up some rocks of about the right size and write month names on them with a Sharpie.