The publishing business is no place for a budding author, according to three speakers at the Placement Office Career Conference held last evening in the Eliot Junior Common Room. They emphasized that publishing is a business, dependent on the financial reality of selling books and magazines, and not "a way of getting your Great American Novel" into print.
B. C. Tilghman, Jr., Production Manager of the Trade Department of the Houghton Mifflin Company pointed out that a great many steps lie between the acceptance of a manuscript and the final appearance of the book. Production work requires a great deal of technical experience which is best acquired by starting in a printing plant, he concluded.
"Hard to Crash"
Next on the speaker's stand was Donald B. Snider, publisher of The Atlantic Monthly, who revealed that the magazine field is hard to crash right out of college because few magazines will take a risk on an apprentice when they can always pick up an experienced man from some other branch of the publishing business.
Magazines have small staffs, added Snider; the Atlantic, for instance, keeps 100 on the payroll, 41 of whom are stenographers in the circulation department.
Good Taste, Patience
The basic editorial art of copy editing was the subject expounded by Thomas J. Wilson, Director of the Harvard University Press. A Liberal Arts degree, a certain amount of good taste and a great deal of patience are the qualifications for this type of work, he stated.
Future conferences will cover careers in Medicine, Labor, Government, Law, and Design.