Next in our “Introducing AMACOM” series is editorial assistant William Helms, who started at AMACOM in April 2007 working under Ellen Kadin and at the time Christina Parisi. He performs administrative tasks such as preparing contracts and the like but has been increasingly doing editorial work, such as developing manuscripts.
What were you doing before you joined AMACOM?
I was an Editorial Assistant at Hippocrene Books, a midtown Manhattan and Jamaica, Queens-based, family owned, independent publisher of bilingual dictionaries, language guides, travel books and international cookbooks. I also was doing some freelance writing for a couple of publications namely Shecky’s and their now defunct Bar, Lounge and Club Guide, an Astoria, Queens-based publication Dish du Jour and music journalism and criticism for Long Island City, Queens-based Ins&Outs Magazine. I also started doing some occasional music writing for Glide Magazine, a great music magazine online.
What are the big challenges you face in your job?
In mind there are two big challenges that come up with the editorial function of my job. I usually have to quickly familiarize myself with concepts and subjects that I may not have much of an idea about. And I have to switch gears on a wide amount of subjects. For example, not too long ago, I edited a book on writing more efficiently at work, then a book on experience marketing, then a book on commercial real estate, followed by a book on digital marketing, and then on sales. It’s an intellectual challenge, that’s for sure!
What AMACOM book are you really excited about right now?
The On-Demand Brand by Rick Mathieson. It’s an extremely well-written and entertaining book which discusses how companies can use new technology – mobile phone applications, social networking and more – to market their products and services to a population that wants what they want, when they want it, for lack of a better phrase. I’ve come across some of the technology Mathieson discusses in my daily life, such as while going shopping but I’ve also met folks who have worked in the marketing and advertising fields who have been working on similar things. I think it’s pretty interesting to see how it works.
What book are you reading at the moment?
I just started I Sold Andy Warhol (Too Soon) by Richard Polsky. It’s a pithy look at the art world and how it actually works. And just before that I read Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer’s Life by Michael Greenberg. In that one Greenberg discusses his life as a frustrated and somewhat failed writer. They’re both thematically different but both authors’ humor is on the same level – they both laugh at the utterly ridiculous and pretentious. If I’m not mistaken they’re both published by The Other Press.
I’m a big science buff, especially when it comes to things like astronomy and theoretical physics and I got through Simon Singh’s Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe which is a fantastic read if you’re into that sort of thing. Singh starts with the development of scientific thought and how each period of history explained the formation of the universe, and the developments that influenced and created the Big Bang theory.
What book do you want everyone to discover?
One book I think I’d want everyone to discover is Dan Coughlin’s The Management 500. The racing metaphor makes the concepts easily accessible even to those who don’t know much about racing – after all, the fastest wins. But most importantly, the concepts throughout the book can be applied in daily life regardless of if you’re a business manager or not.
What would you be doing if you weren’t here at AMACOM?
Well, I’d probably be doing music journalism and freelance photography, and I’d probably be working on the novel I had started in college. I had dreams of writing the next Great American Novel. It’s clichéd perhaps but true.
“I get loco from Acapulco to Japan.”
Thanks Will. Find everyone in our our “Introduing AMACOM” series HERE.