Saturday, December 20, 2008

When I Grow Up, Part Four

Welcome to Part Four of my little week-long series of posts about my experiences trying to break into the comic book industry. If you've missed any of the previous posts, feel free to check them out here, here, and here. Or, if clicking's not your thing, you can simply scroll down a bit on this page.

That said, on to today's installment, where (in my twisted head, mind you) I was about to make the transition from wannabe-comics writer to wannabe-comics editor:

So, there I was, sitting at my desk at my new job, doing everything possible to learn the editing profession and to improve my skills as quickly as was humanly feasible.

At first it was a lot of making copies and proof-reading material already in late stages of pre-press without very many mistakes to be found or real editing required. But it was a good time for me to familiarize myself with the trade, and to find out how much there was that I really didn't know or understand.

As it turns out, there was quite a bit that goes into editing that I had never really thought about, such as the wonderful weeks-on-end process of checking indexes and glossaries and tables of contents to make sure they all match up with the sometimes-1,000-page-long textbooks I was helping to create.

Again, a great learning experience, and a real eye-opener, to say the least. My new job was helping me to gain important skills that, in my head at the time, I figured I would one day use to land an editorial position at Marvel, DC, Top Cow, or Wherever. Because, as I was known to think aloud back then, editing giant textbooks is way harder than editing a 22-page floppy comic, right?

Well, apparently not.

You see, as I got more experience under my belt, I decided it would make sense to start sending out my new (and newly relevant!) resume, now filled with editing experience, to the comics publishers. Now, to be completely honest, I have to admit that, within a month of my starting this new job, I sent out a resume to DC Comics to fill an Editorial Assistant position they were advertising for.

Not the best of ideas, but as it is now crystal clear to everyone reading this, I really, really wanted in, and I had some major tunnel vision!

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and I am so happy I was flatly rejected for that particular job, as, since then, I've been able to gain real experience (beyond the copying and errand-running I did when I was just starting out) in the editing field.

That said, I still have a beef with DC and Marvel for all the no-replies to my subsequent job applications. I especially have a beef with them for all the times I never received a phone call, or even an email to say, "Nah, you stink. Go away." Instead, I got nothing.

I got nothing after nothing, followed by more nothing served with a big ol' side of nothing.

There even came a time when I was applying to editorial positions at both companies knowing full well that getting hired would have meant making a non-lateral move with less pay. But heck, I was persistent! And more than a little nutty. But mostly persistent.

And, just before I go any further, I do need to say that I am quite happy at my current job, as an editor, even though I am still not an editor of comics. I'm learning more and more about different aspects of the business every day, and slowly but surely, I have become a real, live editor by trade.

Now, that's not to say that I haven't been completely frustrated by the comics industry, and the comics publishers. Because I have been.

Completely frustrated, that is.

It is still my goal to one day contribute to the world of comics directly, because I honestly think I would be good at being in the comics business, and, recently, I've taken some major steps towards that goal. We'll see what happens on that front as things happen on that front, and that's all I'm gonna say about it for now.

So, back to my frustrated-ness.

I completely understand that both Marvel and DC get inundated with applications whenever they post up an open position online. I also understand that, many times, the posting of said position is done merely as window-dressing, as the position will likely (and rightfully) stay in-house.

Still, every time I'd send out an application, with attached cover letter and resume, I'd get a swelling of hope that maybe, just maybe, this would be it. This would be the time when the Good Thing happened. The Good Thing that would lead to many more good things.

But, alas, instead of even having the opportunity of the fleeting hope that comes with opening a rejection letter, I got, as I've noted above...nothing.

But that was OK beacuse I was learning another, crucial lesson about the comics industry--it's just as tough to break in as an editor as it is to break in as a writer. I was also learning that the old sayings (you know the ones: "you can do anything as long as you put your mind to it" and "never give up") were a bunch of fork-tongued lies.

And, yet again, for the umpteenth time since my quest began, I found myself angry at comics.

Tune in next time for the conclusion to all this, in Part Five. And, if you've been hanging around and reading these, I wanna say thanks to you, and if you're just counting the seconds before this little series of posts ends--don't fear, because the last day is just around the corner!

'til then...


Scott said...

I probably applied for around five thousand jobs in a three-month period; I got something like two rejections and three interviews.

The two jobs I landed before I got this job were car salesman and Target stock boy.

So... I'd venture a guess that rejection via silence isn't that uncommon. Certainly not rare enough that you should have a grudge against Marvel or DC for it.

AJG said...

Yeah, you're right. Still, sometimes it's therapeutic to be angry at someone!