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Among the Literati

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With the college term drawing to a close perturbed seniors are indulging in the natural pastime of deciding just what field of endeavor they will conquer. Unfortunately, since the stock and bond business has suffered a relapse and seems in no immediate prospect of recovering more and more of our serious minded young men and women cast hopeful eyes toward the publishing business. To them it seems to hold the simple answer to all their problems.


They picture a genteel atmosphere in surrounding of culture among books and authors. Here, they believe, is a chance to meet all the writers they are certain they can emulate. They also feel that their judgement as to the salability of a manuscript is infallible and that they have impeccable taste. All of which means that for the next six week publishing houses will be over-run with youngsters who want to be editors or who will compromise if they are allowed to spend the day sitting quietly reading manuscripts at home for a small fee. I say six week because by then it becomes really warm and the new batch of literati decide to go away for the summer, promising themselves that in the Fall, refreshed, they will be in better shape to storm the citadels of literature.


It is obvious why these young people want to be editors but their ideas of editorial duties are strange indeed. They believe that all an editor does is read manuscripts and tell authors how to write them. They forget that most of an editor’s time is taken up with proofreading, which requires great patience and skill, correcting manuscripts and rewriting, in addition to being able to attract writers to his firm.


Despite the sad and carping note of the preceding paragraphs there is room for young people in publishing. For girls the magic necessary to crash the gate is stenography and for the boys the ability to handle wrapping paper and run errands. They must also be willing to work for $15.00 with the prospect ahead of earning as much as $35.00 after three or four years.

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