I often find myself telling people--authors, interns and publishing hopefuls, friends and family--that children's publishing must certainly be one of the most collegial industries out there today. Part of this is because publishing is a really small industry once you're working on the inside of it, a fact which has both perks and minuses. On the negative side is the fact that industry events can sometimes feel like being in a room full of all the people you've ever interviewed for who didn't hire you, which can be distressing...until you realize that everyone else in the room probably feels pretty much the same way, all the way up to the highest levels of the business!
On the far more excellent side is the fact that your smart, interesting colleagues across the industry--even the ones from other houses with whom you fight bitterly over manuscripts at the appropriate moments--are likely to become comrades and often friends (or at the least, well-respected nemeses!) since you're all in the business of books together. And since publishing is often a bit like musical chairs when it comes to all the job-hopping, chances are good that many of those pals are quite likely to become in-house colleagues at some point in your mutual careers. All this elbow-rubbing isn't just to the benefit of editors, though--it's also important for books! Buzz often starts organically within the industry, and as an editor, there's really few things more exciting or complimentary than knowing that a fellow editor whose taste you respect is busy helping to spread the word about one of your beloved books.
Speaking of fellow editors from other houses whose taste you respect (why yes, that was a smooth segue, wasn't it?), I've absolutely enjoyed getting to know Little, Brown's T.S. Ferguson since we first met at last year's Rutgers Conference. Among the many things to appreciate about this colleague of mine: he's fantastically witty, a fellow burrito-lover, the passionate editor of a fantastic debut novel that I recently had the pleasure to read, he recently assured me that a cupcake and a beer could count as dinner...AND he's been known to slip me coveted ARCs pretty much the day the arrive in his office, with only minor amounts of heckling required on my part. All of which are reasons why I agreed to be the debut guinea pig interview-ee on his blog's new Junior Editor Spotlight series. Just as you'd expect from a brilliant editor, he asked a round of very thought-provoking questions, so if you're interested, head over there and take a gander at some of my responses. (Oh, and while you're there, back me up in the comments to convince T.S. that he owes the us a set of answers to his own tough questions!)