Sunday, October 18, 2009

Me and Apress; reflections on Two Years

I don't know the exact day I started work for Apress, but it's just about exactly two years ago, late-October, 2007. Apress is still a publisher of tech books and I am still a heavily-bearded fellow, but neither Apress nor I are really the same. Most obviously,we've weathered a major reorganization at Apress—the move from Berkeley to New York, new hierarchy, new personnel, new systems, new workflow. Yet we are finishing a challenging year strongly. I feel very good about this new enterprise that is Apress.

Less obvious, but much more inevitable, I've changed, too. I'm more knowledgeable having learned to make books the Apress way. I'm more responsible; the MacDev and iPhone "line leader," which includes the awe-inspiring title, Assistant Editorial Director. (I still prefer to think of myself as an editor.) I'm more "important," which I put in quotes to indicate that this refers to the books I publish. There are more of them and they sell more copies than the books I acquired during my first year as Apress editor.

Every organization has its own culture and methods. This is a given, a challenge made more difficult by our virtual collegiality, with no two editors in the same city and spread across three continents, and yet made less challenging because all of my editorial colleagues have been generously kind and unselfishly helpful—the spirit of mutual cooperation I've written about before and still value highly. All of this has helped to make me a more confident editor and I hope a better one, as well.

I fear that I'm sounding too much like a marketing campaign for myself, which is not the intent. While there's something unavoidably self-serving about writing a personal blog, my intent is not to celebrate, but to talk about events and give my impressions. In this case, the story is the simple fact that after two years, I'm still happy to be working at Apress. And I observe that Apress and I have changed together over this period, and there's no separating these two facts.

Much of my life today is defined by my work as an Apress editor, it's very much a part of my identity, something I'm proud of. At the same time, after almost a year of Mac and iPhone books on the market, I think Apress has, if not exactly a new identity, at least become more widely known and respected. Perhaps I've become more widely known and respected, as well. Let's hope we both deserve it. Perhaps year three will provide the answer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A bird in hand is worth two in the bush................