We’ve all heard it a million times: Publishing pays pretty miserably. Unless you’re a high-profile editor or in the C-suite, nobody who works in the the production end of the literary world (or any other end of it, in fact) is getting rich. Even your senior editors probably still have roommates, and forget about the folks doing publicity, proofreading, copy editing—roommates and some freelance to help make ends meet and the occasional handout from the folks, or in the absence of any or all of the above, a chunk of credit card debt that never quite gets paid off. So you really can’t fault publishing professionals for taking a little work on the side.
Earlier this month California feds intercepted five kilos of marijuana headed for St. Martin’s Press headquarters in New York’s Flatiron Building. The three packages, which were pulled at their origin point in San Diego because they “emanated a suspicious odor,” had unsurprisingly fictitious return addresses. Their recipient at St. Martin’s Press, one Karen Wright, doesn’t seem to exist either. One would assume that whoever he or she is, they have a good relationship with the guys in the mailroom—according to The Smoking Gun, which broke the story, five keys of good-quality weed could bring up to $70,000 “on the street” (how’d you like to have been the fact-checker on that one?).
While the true identity of “Karen Wright” has yet to be determined, she already has two Twitter feeds: @KarenWrightNYC and @KarenWright_SMP (“Have you ever really looked at a tilde before? So beautiful, man”). The incident has also sparked up its own #potlit hashtag, but a quick search revealed a surprisingly lackluster bunch of tweets. Lots of The Hunger Games, Leaves of Grass, Bongwater for Elephants, a bunch of misplaced cocaine references—you kids really have led sheltered lives, haven’t you?—and @nyrbclassics got a free ride for having published Stoner. But no mention of Sweet Valley High, In a Budding Grove, or Andrew Vachss’ That’s How I Roll? You all got stuck giggling at the idea of a hashtag, didn’t you? And the most glaring omission of all, the fifth installment of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum mysteries, High Five, published in both hardcover and paperback by St. Martin’s Press.