If you had told me 5, 10, or 15 years ago that I would one day find professional happiness producing stop-motion videos and messing with ebook files for a children’s publisher in London, I would have laughed. Hard. In fact this reality still seems impossible to me. I feel like I’ve been in Oz, or Narnia, or some other magical world for the last year where I can dream things up and make them come true all at once.
Hot Key Books is, in fact, a magical place to work, so it seems entirely natural to feel like this entire journey has been a bit of a dream. Of course, there are the normal office politics, the heated discussions and the dishes sometimes piled in the sink, but the amazing thing about HKB is that those things get diminished by all the goodness in the office. Everyone bands together to get things done — and I really can’t emphasize this point enough — because it is so often the thing that separates successful companies from unsuccessful ones. I saw it clearly my first time in the office, and it’s just as true today as it was when I was interning.
This publishing house is very much about the people who work here, and you can see it in the books. And maybe that’s why we all get giddy every time we hold a finished copy in our hands, or see someone retweet our tweets. Because everything we do here seems to feel like a part of us. It’s also why it feels so incredibly difficult to leave. As I mentioned the other day, I feel heavy-duty velcroed to my work. It feels wrong, like I’m leaving new puppies out in the rain (note: I WOULD NEVER LEAVE NEW PUPPIES OR ANY PUPPY IN THE RAIN). Fortunately, I could not have asked for a better person to take up where I left off — Sanne is going to blow your minds, so watch out.
After two years of working in publishing, I feel like I’ve been given a gift. I guess I have really — I’ve finally found a “something” that I want to do with the rest of my life. And that’s new for me. When I was living in LA and working in the public education system, it always felt like I was doing important work, but it didn’t feel like the right fit. Not to get totally mushy on you, but it feels a bit like falling in love. I “dated” many other professions, but this is “the one.” Which also in a way is kind of funny, because this particular job doesn’t really have a title (Person Who Does Fun Digital Things With Books?). I know I want to learn to code and then explode the publishing world with new ways to read and access books, but I have no idea how that is actually going to look.
But for now, I just want to say thank you. Thank you to the trio of Sara(h)s at Hot Key for giving me this opportunity, thank you to everyone at Hot Key Books and Red Lemon for working with me, even when you might have thought my ideas were crazy, thank you to all the gracious authors I worked with, and thank you to the incredible children’s book community. Our kids are lucky to have such talented, passionate people constantly seeking out the best stories to tell.
And though I’ll be across and ocean and an entire country (west coast is the best coast!), I’ll still be tweeting of course, and keeping my eye on all the exciting things to come from HKB and RLP.