TITAN OF INDUSTRY On the copyright page of Olivie Blake’s fantasy novel “The Atlas Six,” readers might notice an unobtrusive line of print above the ISBN data and below the title. It says, “Edited by Molly McGhee.” In her lengthy acknowledgments section, the formerly self-published author and BookTok sensation whose real name is Alexene Farol Follmuth writes, “Thank you to Molly McGhee, my beloved editor, who soothes my!!!s and???s me at all the right moments. You have contributed so much more to this book and to my earthly existence than you will ever know.”
On March 11, McGhee joined a group of junior and midlevel employees who exited the publishing industry, blaming low pay, unrealistic workloads and burnout. For context: It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to live in or near New York City (epicenter of bookmaking) on an entry-level publishing salary. Add school loans, subtract a second job or additional subsidy and you risk being factored out of a career in letters before the ink on your college diploma has had a chance to dry.
“As some of you may have heard, today is my last day at Tor Books,” McGhee wrote in the resignation letter she shared on Twitter. “My promotion request was denied, and as such I am leaving as my first acquisition (the marvelous THE ATLAS SIX by Olivie Blake) debuts at number three on The New York Times Bestsellers List.” She goes on, “Making the NYT is a career high for an editor. It is rare for an assistant to do so and, by all accounts, this should be ‘a great beginning’ and not a heartbreaking end.”
McGhee also cites “the invisibility of the junior employee’s workload” as one of her reasons for leaving Tor. As Blake writes in her novel, “We are the gods of our own universes, aren’t we?” Indeed we are. But gods cannot live on ramen alone.
RELATIONSHIP GOALS Perhaps Blake and McGhee will consider a partnership like Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s? Hendricks edited seven books by Pekkanen before leaving Simon & Schuster, where she’d worked for 20 years. This week, the authors’ fourth co-written best seller, “The Golden Couple,” enters the hardcover fiction list at No. 4. The novel focuses on a dysfunctional marriage and the unorthodox therapist who attempts to save it. Hendricks and Pekkanen dedicated this one to their editor, Jennifer Enderlin.