10 years ago, the pseudonymous Morgan Cast revealed the sad, sad truth about publishing salaries: there isn’t a lot of money to go around. “While editors with their own imprints command six-figure salaries, editorial assistants start in the $18,000 range,” wrote Cast in the October 31, 1997 article for Salon. “If they stick with it, they might be promoted — after five or so years — to an associate editor’s job, which pays a whopping $28,000 to $34,000.” The news delivered by the then-3 year publishing veteran only got grimmer as the piece went on, culminating in what a Crown editor evidently “satisified” with the job put it. “I’ve given in to the notion that I love what I’m doing and I’ll never get paid what I’m worth in this industry.”
Cast’s piece back then had Publishers Weekly‘s salary survey as its statistical backbone, and with this year’s results just out, it’s helpful to look at data going back a few years.