(photo from the National Media Museum.  This man was surprised to realize that his job of fire-escape repair included regular breaks for reading.)

10. Recipe-testing.  Editors who edit cookbooks just psychically know that the manuscripts they’re editing will be delicious, right?

9. Choosing paper stock.  Don’t all books just get printed on the same paper stock?  It’s called ‘book paper stock’ and you can tell that it’s for books because it’s not brown like paper bags.  It’s standard!

8. Memorizing directions to all the halfway-decent places to eat in a five-block vicinity of every convention center in the United States.

7. Learning about the current political state of Iran so as to be able to talk intelligently about a book to media.

6. Shipping books by regular mail to California from New York City takes six – eight days.  Quiz me on shipping a book regular mail to any other place in the US, plus Canada, the UK, Australia, and Asia!  (Actually, don’t.)

5. Authors who draw amazing doodles on envelopes they send me things in.

4. Trips to the bookstore to look at other publishers’ book covers.  And taking notes.

3. Thinking about entertaining?  Tell me a little about the number of people, the kind of venue, and what you’re doing and I can work out some ballpark numbers for you.  Thanks, publishing!

2. You have to ask people for endorsement quotes to put on the fronts of books.  Those quotes don’t just appear; we go out and get them.  (Neither, by the way, does the ISBN.  You have to make it with special ISBN-generating software!)

1.  Math.