I wanted to be a book editor from the time I was a little kid and spent a lot of time reading and thinking about how books became books. So, when I got out of college, I moved to NYC to follow my dream.
I started out at New American Library (now a part of Putnam, Penguin) in 1976 and spent about two years in production. Editorial jobs were hard to come by and you needed a trust fund to live on the low salary but I was taken under the wing of one of the best copy editors and managing editors in the industry at that time: Irene Pink. I learned copyediting, managing editor methods, and the ins and outs of the editorial end of book publishing. I kept my production job and started to do freelance copyediting and proofreading for a number of publishers including Time-Warner, Avon Books and others.
From there I spent about six years at Facts On File, a nonfiction/reference publisher, running the production and art departments and on the executive editorial board.
I went out on my own in 1986, starting Robin Smith Ink, and did both editorial work and production/design work for Warner Books, NY Zoetrope, NAL, Little, Avon Books, and Parabola Magazine.
In 1988, when it got to the point I had to start hiring people to cover the volume of work I had, I instead decided to take a job at Bantam, Doubleday, Dell (now Random House) as part of the initial management team starting Bantam Audio Books. I worked in various capacities setting the systems up, structure packaging design, manufacturing, etc.
I stayed in that job until 1996 when I moved to the Asheville, NC area and resurrected Robin Smith Ink, offering editorial services to writers and small publishers. For several years here I also wrote catalog copy for a regional book distributor and did some book marketing.
My formal education: a BA from Hiram College in Ohio; design and art direction seminars at various institutions in NYC, and courses at NYU on a graduate level in International Business--I thought, very briefly, about an MBA back when they were new in the mid-seventies.
I got over it.