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my editor has been fired - KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life
ramblings from a mad fedora'd writer
my editor has been fired
Marco Palmieri, who was my editor on 11 of my novels, three of my novelizations, two of my novellas, and four of my short stories, was laid off yesterday. It was part of a general bloodletting at Simon & Schuster, which canned 35 employees at the direction of their corporate masters.

Marco was responsible for the majority of the Star Trek fiction published over the past several years -- of the books published from 2005 through to what's scheduled to the end of 2009, Marco edited 65% of them -- and he also edited most of Pocket's novels based on videogames, including Resident Evil and the three Blizzard Games licenses (World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo).

Margaret Clark, who edited 40% of that same range of Trek fiction (four of the books were jointly edited by Margaret and Marco), will be taking over that line, and his other projects will be divvied among those who remain behind.

To add insult to injury, Marco is married with two boys. And he just got laid off out of the blue three weeks before Christmas. Nice.

I can also say that some of my best work has been under Marco's tutelage, in particular The Art of the Impossible, Articles of the Federation, and the forthcoming A Singular Destiny.

His presence at Pocket Books will be missed.

Current Mood: disappointed disappointed
Current Music: "You Took My Breath Away" by the Traveling Wilburys

47 comments or Please comment
isis_lives From: isis_lives Date: December 5th, 2008 03:09 am (UTC) (Link)


skywaterblue From: skywaterblue Date: December 5th, 2008 03:09 am (UTC) (Link)
It's a bummer, to be sure.
meggins From: meggins Date: December 5th, 2008 03:16 am (UTC) (Link)
This must be the shitty news you refered to in an earlier post, and it is, indeed, shitty. *deep sigh*
yendi From: yendi Date: December 5th, 2008 03:29 am (UTC) (Link)

That truly sucks.
dewline From: dewline Date: December 5th, 2008 03:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I was sorry to see the news elsewhere on LJ earlier in the day, and I'm still sorry that it happened.

I hope to see Marco land on his feet and sooner than later.
neadods From: neadods Date: December 5th, 2008 03:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, damn. He was always a good friend to Shore Leave.
samanthadelayed From: samanthadelayed Date: December 5th, 2008 03:31 am (UTC) (Link)
That blows!
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 5th, 2008 03:31 am (UTC) (Link)
just goes to prove that every industry has been affected during this downturn
katie_9918 From: katie_9918 Date: December 5th, 2008 03:42 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm exceedingly displeased to hear this news.

And even more displeased to hear the manner in which Pocket Books has conducted itself in this course of action.

Tell Marco we're all thinking of him and sending bad karma to whatever pinhead made the decision to handle it this way.
penmage From: penmage Date: December 5th, 2008 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
What did Pocket do wrong, exactly?
katie_9918 From: katie_9918 Date: December 5th, 2008 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Where I come from, firing someone out of the blue isn't exactly good form.

Marco's had a hand in most of the Trek books I've liked best. I'll be thinking twice about picking up a Trek book from here on out. With the exception of KRAD's, of course.
penmage From: penmage Date: December 5th, 2008 03:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Don't get me wrong, firing is never a good thing. But I'm at S&S, and my impression is that all of the 35 firings were done with a heavy heart and at the command of the higher-ups. Nobody WANTED any of this. It's not Pocket's fault.

I am very sad about Marco, and about the the leaders of my own group who went down on Wednesday, and the rest of the 35. I just don't think Pocket could have handled this kind of thing any better. There's no GOOD way to lay off talented, hardworking staff. It sucks all around.
popfiend From: popfiend Date: December 5th, 2008 05:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
As someone also at S&S who lost his manager and his manager's manager, it's my impression as well. It simply seems to be a question of economics. There was no good way or time to do this, and having been laid off back in 2001 from another position just prior to Thanksgiving I know the pain this can cause.

The higher ups did this to close a financial gap and because of when our fiscal year ends, layoffs to close financial gaps are going to occur at this time of year.

The unfortunate truth is that layoffs generally do come out of the blue. You might announce that layoffs are coming, but the who of it is rarely known until the hammer falls.

It sucks.

It blows.

And it's awful.

But I don't think it's malicious.

Just sucktastic.

/my 2 cents
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 6th, 2008 12:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Welcome to the hotel California.
penmage From: penmage Date: December 6th, 2008 11:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Where do you work at S&S?
popfiend From: popfiend Date: December 7th, 2008 12:30 am (UTC) (Link)
You first.

penmage From: penmage Date: December 7th, 2008 04:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Children's Editorial. You?
popfiend From: popfiend Date: December 7th, 2008 04:39 am (UTC) (Link)
penmage From: penmage Date: December 7th, 2008 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Who got axed in your department? We're pieced together the list bit by bit...
kradical From: kradical Date: December 5th, 2008 04:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Something to keep in mind: while Marco was fired yesterday, his influence on the Trek line will remain for a while. Most of the stuff of his on the 2009 schedule is going to be much as it would've been without his being fired, and his projects will likely continue for some time. Hell, John Ordover left Pocket in early 2004; of the projects he started, it will take until later this month for them all to be released (the last of his contracts is the final book in the Errand of Fury trilogy by Kevin Ryan).

So you don't need to think twice any more or less than you would have until (at the earliest) a year from now.
esc_key From: esc_key Date: December 5th, 2008 03:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Very sorry for Marco and his family, and everyone else who was laid off on Black Wednesday.
scifantasy From: scifantasy Date: December 5th, 2008 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Holy crap!

That blows. Sympathies to Marco and family.
sixthbrightest From: sixthbrightest Date: December 5th, 2008 04:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh no! From all you and others have said about him it's clear that he had a huge influence on Trek fiction, and it's awful to hear about this.
From: julioangelortiz Date: December 5th, 2008 04:49 am (UTC) (Link)
No two ways about it: bad move on S&S's part. This totally sucks. The books under Marco's care were awesome.
jernyc From: jernyc Date: December 5th, 2008 04:53 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm so sorry to hear this. I've considered ALL of the people who contribute to Trek Literature just as important (if not more so) to the overall feel of the Trek universe as the film and television writers. I wish Marco all the best and hope that we see (or read) his work in our playground again at some time. Thanks Marco...
gemsweater From: gemsweater Date: December 5th, 2008 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)
This is effed up. Not cool at all.

The books he guided were the reason I started reading Trek lit in the first place.

There are certain Trek authors whose style I cannot abide; none of those writers are typically edited by Marco.

I know that all you writers will keep on doing what you do well, but... ugh.

And this is all me thinking about me and not even considering the fact that he's just a guy with a family and now, no job!
lyonessnyc From: lyonessnyc Date: December 5th, 2008 05:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh wow. Holy crap. [blinkblink] Sympathies -- it sucks when anyone loses a job right at the holidays. But when you've had that job for more than a decade? Ouch.
sheriffjoe From: sheriffjoe Date: December 5th, 2008 05:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Not that there is any good time to be laid off...but this couldn't have waited a month?
From: black13 Date: December 5th, 2008 09:03 am (UTC) (Link)
In 2001, there was a wave of layoffs at the company where I worked. Also just before Giftmas, and coming out of nowhere. (I was one of those who got laid off -- which launched my freelancing career.)

I was told that there's some obscure legal reason why the layoffs couldn't wait until the new year -- they'd have had to pay everyone for another quarter or somesuch.

I remain convinced, however, that bosses lay personnel off just before Giftmas on full purpose, that they enjoy ruining their holidays.
tiggerallyn From: tiggerallyn Date: December 5th, 2008 12:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
A few years ago, I was laid off at the company's Christmas Eve party.

The company had a Christmas Eve party after work, and as I walked into the party my supervisor pulled me aside and told me I didn't have to come back after Christmas. Happened to about twenty other people. I didn't stick around much for the party; there wasn't any need.

Cast a pall on Christmas dinner the next day, too. My sister asked me about my job. "Got laid off yesterday," I said. Not much you can say to follow that. *shrug*
amysisson From: amysisson Date: December 5th, 2008 05:52 am (UTC) (Link)
This has been bumming me out all day, and obviously I don't have anything like the history you have with him. But what dealings I have had with him have been uniformly wonderful.
od0_ital From: od0_ital Date: December 5th, 2008 07:56 am (UTC) (Link)
This really does suck.

Marco's presence at Pocket will definately be missed (knowin' the editors for the books, ya can tell the differnece in quality), and, no doubt, I'll be readin' even less Trek in the future.
rose_gialle From: rose_gialle Date: December 5th, 2008 08:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm sorry to hear it. It's never an easy situation to bear.

Every team in my department just lost a member, right before Xmas. And we're waiting to see who's next on the list after Xmas.

The job losses world-wide are appalling.
jim_gamma From: jim_gamma Date: December 5th, 2008 09:44 am (UTC) (Link)
:( Damn.
lonemagpie From: lonemagpie Date: December 5th, 2008 10:05 am (UTC) (Link)
It's definitely our duty to go forward and keep up and work on from the quality that Marco brought to the line. It's our responsibility to keep that sky up there.
kvaadk From: kvaadk Date: December 5th, 2008 12:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Marco Palmieri did not deserve that.

I never had the opportunity to work with Marco as an editor. He invited me to pitch on a few projects and he looked a couple of my novel proposals, but nothing I submitted quite lined up with what he was looking for. And that's alright. It's the nature of this business that 99 out of 100 efforts don't work out. I still admire the man and the energy and effort he poured into the Star Trek printed universe.

Marco is a professional who brought an admirable dedication and passion to his work at Pocket. An ethic I know will infuse his efforts wherever he goes from here.

But nobody -- nobody -- should have to go the way he did.
suricattus From: suricattus Date: December 5th, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
first of all: am still wibbling myself from Wednesday's news. I still (knocks wood) have both my editors, but it could have gone he other way quite easily. Scary times, all around.


But nobody -- nobody -- should have to go the way he did.

I'm not quite sure what you're referring to -- opposed to the hundreds of other people who were laid off on Wednesday? As opposed to those of us who've been handed the same "we're eliminating your position" line in earlier years?

I feel for Marco and the others, don't get me wrong -- been there done that from both sides -- but there is no good way to get screwed by a bad economy.

jslinder From: jslinder Date: December 5th, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I got laid at the beginning of December back in 2004. The boss called me in, showed me the bank balance and basically said we can't afford to pay you anything more than severance, and that's only if we do it right now.

I suspect pocket was in a similar situation. Companies really don't WANT the bad PR that holiday layoffs cause. I suspect its likely that a line of credit or other source of cash flow was lost (not uncommon currently) and that just triggered dominoes.

One of my also laid off co-workers at the time opined that it was actually a good thing, as they could adjust holiday plans. Imagine getting laid off on Dec. 26th after you ran up the holiday bills...
kvaadk From: kvaadk Date: December 5th, 2008 04:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Over the years I have been fired and have had to fire due to budgetary constraints. I have been sacrificed to "save" a department. And I have been the only one left standing when the rest of my team got axed. None of those experiences is pleasant, and I have come away with some deeply held convictions about the process.

Nobody who has been doing their job at or above standard should go to work and get fired.
I'm not saying companies should keep employees they can't afford. Cutbacks are a dismal reality of business. But I am saying people deserve the dignity of being given time to make plans; to transition in good order.
Employees are expected to give employers two weeks notice so the employer can adjust accordingly. Usually their last paycheque is dependent on their giving proper notice. There is no doubt in my mind employees deserve the same respect. Two weeks notice. Two weeks with pay so the person who has worked so hard for you -- the person you are firing through no fault of their own -- has a chance to land on his or her feet. Has a chance to keep their house. Or the promises they made their children.

Nobody deserves to be treated the way Marco, and the rest of the 35 at Pocket, and thousands of other competent, loyal employees are being treated during this "economic downturn."
It's not right.
klingonguy From: klingonguy Date: December 5th, 2008 01:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
aw crap.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 5th, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Holy crap, that sucks. And not just because he hooked me up with so many Pocket titles. Right before Christmas.
I hope he finds something else soon.

polypolyglot From: polypolyglot Date: December 5th, 2008 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Holy shit. My sympathies to Marco and his family.
brightbeak From: brightbeak Date: December 5th, 2008 05:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
OK, beyond sucking, that was a completely class-less way of S&S to do their layoffs! *Crass* would be the most polite word I can think of at this time, though I'm sure if I dig, I can find something more appropriate, though not necessarily as publicly 'friendly'!

brightbeak From: brightbeak Date: December 5th, 2008 05:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Reading the posts further up shows me that, though it may be considered class-less, it was not-exactly an easy thing to do for them. I just hope the severence packages have sufficient substance to get those fine folks through the upcoming holidays, and that things pick up sooner-rather-than-later and that S&S is able to rehire some of those folks before things get too nasty for their families.

hoping none of them are offended by being placed on a personal prayer list of folks who impact my life in some positive way.
angryreporter From: angryreporter Date: December 5th, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry to hear about this.
pseudohistorian From: pseudohistorian Date: December 5th, 2008 06:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, crap on a stick. :/

There isn't much I can add to what others have already said...

I also hope that Marco got a decent severance package (he certainly deserves it), and that all of the writers who've worked with him (and maybe even I) get the chance to work with him again at his new place of employment in the near future.
thehey From: thehey Date: December 6th, 2008 02:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I do not know Marco, of course, but I am not at all surprised as this is going on all over the Viacom/CBS/National Amusements/Paramount empire.

Summer Redstone lost his shirt on Midway Games and CBS stock so he is taking it out on all his other chess pieces. He's even selling a good part of his core Movie Theater business.

Must suck to only be worth $2 billion instead of $4 billion. :-/
47 comments or Please comment