For the first time, someone has turned the tables on me in these Tell Me guest blogs. When I asked Jason Sizemore to tell me something about For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher, I didn't expect him to talk about me. I won't lie, this post made me a little teary-eyed.
Also, I've read For Exposure. It is laugh out loud funny, informative, and a very good look on the inside of a small press publisher. It is very much worth the read.
For Exposure: Jennifer Brozek
You’re reading this because I wrote a book titled For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher. It’s a behind the scenes look at the business of publishing, some of the more outlandish predicaments I’ve landed in, and an ode to all the hardworking authors, artists, and editors who have helped me over the years. One such person is Jennifer Brozek.
Jennifer—you are about to be exposed.
If I recall properly, Jenn Brozek started her editorial journey working as an Apex Magazine slush reader. For the uninitiated, a slush reader is a publication’s first reader. In publishing circles, these hardworking first readers are almost always unpaid interns, volunteers, or friends you can talk into sorting the submissions chaff from the diamonds. I admit with some degree of sadness that Apex is no different—the company has never been solvent enough to pay slush readers in anything other than experience, free books, and my undying gratitude. Back when Jenn joined our crew, we have 10 to 12 people fighting the slush.
Once in a while, a slush reader will stand out from the rest—just like how a great story that finds its way out of the submissions pile to the editor-in-chief. The stories I was receiving from one of my first readers consistently impressed me in terms of quality and style. This newbie, Jennifer Brozek, had obviously studied the type of work I liked to publish in Apex Magazine. I got to know Jenn better via email and Gchat and found her to be highly motivated, responsible, and career driven. She was (and still is) a strong, professional woman. I immediately liked her, and impressed by her skills, I asked if she would take on more responsibility for Apex. She said “Yes” and before long, Apex was benefitting immensely from Jenn’s presence on my editorial team.
A couple of years passed and our friendship grew. My professional estimation of Jenn also grew. I figured it was only a matter of time before she left to pursue the next, bigger steps in her career.
It came to be that Jenn and I would be in attendance at GenCon. She had asked for a private meeting with me. “Uh oh,” I thought. “Here it is. The big kiss off. The parting of the ways. The thanks for everything but I’m out of here.”
We had our meeting. I was braced to hug her and wish her well. Instead, she caught me completely off guard. She politely outlined all the ways she had helped Apex over the previous three years. I nodded in confused agreement. Finally, the shoe dropped.
“I want you to make me your senior editor.”
I was stunned into momentary silence. At first, I found such a bold request to be off-putting. But as my brain analyzed the situation, it became obvious that this wonderful, career-oriented, intelligent, and charming lady absolutely deserved to be my senior editor.
I accepted her offer. [Editor's note: I thought he was going to fire me for being so audacious.]
If you get a chance to read For Exposure, you’ll recognize that Apex has a knack of finding incredibly skilled young editors to be part of the company. Jenn is one of the best examples of this knack.
So here we are, several years later, and she has earned a much-deserved Hugo Award nomination. When I heard she was a nominee, I was filled with pride and happiness. The woman has worked her butt off for every one of her many successes. She selfless and pays it forward to anyone who needs help. In an awards season filled with petty bitterness, endless debates of merit, and slate-based cheating, Jenn’s nomination is a bright spot. A nice person who is extremely talented made the final ballot, and that is good.
Thank you to Jenn Brozek for all that she’s done for Apex Publications and for giving me a guest spot on her blog. I only hope that she didn’t mind being exposed!
Jason Sizemore is the author of For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher. It is available now from Amazon, B&N, and Apex Publications. For more information about the author, visit his website at http://www.jason-sizemore.com, or follow his Twitter feed @apexjason.