Skyhorse Publishing

www.skyhorsepublishing.com
Engaged Employer

Skyhorse Publishing Reviews

Updated July 22, 2015
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Tony Lyons
11 Ratings

14 Employee Reviews

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  1. Editor

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Editor
    Former Employee - Assistant Editor

    I worked at Skyhorse Publishing full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Skyhorse is the fastest growing small publishing company in the U.S. The only way to do something exceptional is to spend less time pining for coffee breaks and vacation time and do the work. The CEO is setting the example. I have never met any human being who works harder, with more enthusiasm, imagination and boldness than Tony Lyons. He basically works day and night. Whoever calls this CEO lazy must be talking about someone else or ever more likely, be projecting. This CEO, along with his administration, recognizes, appreciate and rewards, anyone who is more interested in getting the job done than sitting around complaining about how hard it is, whether it is appreciated and appropriately rewarded. More than any place I have ever worked at, this employment does directly reflect what one puts into it. The CEO cares less about status, resume's and what school you went to and more about who you are, whether you are willing to learn new things and put energy, enthusiasm and commitment to your work.

    Cons

    It's not a free ride. Someone who wants the appearance of going to work without actually putting effort into it, will not thrive and will most likely not last very long.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work and Congratulations!


  2. Slave drivers

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I worked at Skyhorse Publishing full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The people I worked with were wonderful, supportive, and hard working

    Cons

    The managment had little interest in getting to know their employees. They overworked them by assigning too many books per person per season, and there was no way anyone could give enough attention to the books. It was more about quantity than quality.

    Advice to Management

    Hire more people!


  3. Helpful (5)

    Misled and disappointed

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Skyhorse Publishing full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    It's a steady paycheck. Met a few good people.

    Cons

    I'm happy my name doesn't appear in acknowledgments for any of the books, because I'd be embarrassed to have it there. The company's one purpose seems to be to push out as many poorly produced books as possible, in the smallest amount of time possible. Both the CEO and the head of production are often missing from the office for weeks on end, yet somehow books keep being made. When mistakes are found later, they're either ignored or blamed on interns. Speaking of interns, not sure why the company's representatives are touting the fact their interns do most of the editorial/production work on many titles. If you were an author, would you want an intern to put together your book? The quality (or lack thereof) shows. Very poor office culture, poor pay, poor benefits. Impossible to get face time with upper management, unless they're about to reprimand you for something. No HR department, and department heads often make up rules on the go. I found two people crying in the bathroom on two separate occasion in one day. Make your own conclusions.

    Advice to Management

    Spend more time in the office to guarantee some degree of quality control. Treat employees like people, not robots.


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  5. I've thrived working on the editorial level and creating a unique list of books.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Editor in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Editor in New York, NY

    I have been working at Skyhorse Publishing full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The company values and rewards initiative in a way that allows for rapid advancement. Hard workers who are highly motivated can move up rapidly. Substantial responsibility is given to those who succeed. In addition, those who succeed are paid beyond the norm. For example, an editor with three years experience might earn more than $50K per year. There is a supervisory structure for all departments--editorial, production, marketing, special sales, and publicity. Whether an employee rises at Skyhorse or goes elsewhere, the hands on experience and responsibility are invaluable in developing a career.

    Cons

    This is a busy, hectic office. There are some workers who simply won't like the need for productivity and will find themselves more comfortable elsewhere. To manage more than 50 workers, the president relies on his supervisors to handle many interactions with employees. He has extensive duties and it simply wouldn't be realistic for him to have the company function without intermediate managers.


  6. Learn a Lot, Learn Quickly, and Work With Great People

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Skyhorse Publishing full-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I'm surprised by the negative reviews. I think people tend to post in these things only when they have something negative to say--I think people with positive experiences tend to stay quiet, which is why I'm jumping in. Skyhorse certainly isn't for everyone--no company is--but it's for people who really want to work in New York City publishing, one of the most exciting industries in the world. If people want to learn the ins and outs of publishing, and quickly, Skyhorse is the place to be. At other houses, junior editors would have to slave away in boring assistant roles for years, their days spent managing schedules, printing things, running errands, making coffee, etc. At Skyhorse, people LEARN HOW TO BE EDITORS FROM DAY ONE--NOT SECRETARIES. They shape manuscripts, work with authors, write cover memos, learn the ins and outs of contracts, etc. And when they are promoted, they go from assistant to editor, a huge title jump. Each junior level person reports to a senior level person and can ask questions, pitch book ideas, have author phone calls, etc. The editors who aren't working with a senior editor--this is a relatively new house structure--learned by working directly with the publisher and report directly to the editorial director. Yes, Skyhorse does a ton of books--probably too many--but that's why it was named the fastest growing small publishing house. It's also worth mentioning how great the people are. Every time there's a birthday, the entire staff signs the card. And colleagues are consistently respectful of one another--a rarity in a fast-paced workplace.

    Cons

    Skyhorse publishes a ton of books and, accordingly, there is a lot of work.


  7. Helpful (6)

    You Deserve Better

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Skyhorse Publishing full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    If you are lacking in experience and skills you can get an entry level position here.

    Cons

    Everything. I know this is a review but I don't even know where to start. Glassdoor suggests, "Consider discussing: work-life balance, compensation, office culture" Ok Glassdoor, here goes... Work life balance: Overworked is a gross understatement. Most of the editors have to bring home their work after hours and spend their weekends editing books just to keep their heads above water. They do this because there is an expectation set by the publisher that they should be able to keep up with whatever is thrown at them no matter how tight the deadline, otherwise they are somehow incompetent. Overtime was forbidden at one point and the publisher sent out an email basically saying suck it up and get your work done at home. The publishing model, accurately described by many other reviewers, is simply not sustainable or healthy to the employees, but management has made it clear through their actions that they don't care about that. The only time they ever start talking about making changes is when a ton of books are late and begin to threaten their immediate sales. Compensation: During the recession the starting salary was 20K because they knew they could take advantage of recent college graduates looking for work. However, if you were a man they sometimes gave you slightly more because sexism. The thing they value most is how fast one can keep production moving and the amount of work you can handle at once (more, more more!). Don't assume that quality work will be noticed, they really could not care less about it. In general, the raises are not noteworthy and most of the employees struggle to get by living in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I personally went through weeks at a time with no money in my bank account, periods of illness and weight loss due to stress and having to constantly skip meals due to lack of funds for groceries, and barely scraping by, all while working like dog everyday to make books for an employer who refused to compensate me fairly. This job made me feel so utterly worthless and I was deeply depressed. I was given excuses during my "Evaluation" when after a whole year slaving at an extremely low salary without a raise or any kind of feedback on my performance (due to a ridiculous yearly review policy), that they could only afford to bump my salary such an insultingly small amount that it would have been better to call it a bonus. Meanwhile, they had raised the starting salary to about what I was making and many people who had been working there for a shorter time had received higher raises. Basically, they will absolutely take advantage of you if they feel like it. Also, it really depends on whether your direct manager actually cares about helping your career advancement. I had a "mushroom manager" who only cared about making himself look good and keeping his own job secure. Only the senior employees and upper management are making a livable salary. Office Culture: Cliquey, almost in a high school type of way. Most of the employees are overworked so they aren't super friendly or interested in getting to know new employees. Respect is earned for all the wrong reasons. There's two major camps at Skyhorse: Loyal Original Employees (the ones who have posted positive reviews on here at the request of the publisher because they want to keep their jobs) and Desperate to Get Out (tragically underpaid, unfulfilled, miserable).

    Skyhorse Publishing Response

    Nov 4, 2014 – Executive Director of Production

    We're sorry to hear your experience of Skyhorse was not more positive. Our employees do work hard and our fast-paced, innovative work environment tends to attract individuals who are eager for a ... More


  8. Helpful (6)

    Predatory, misleading, unethical.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Skyhorse Publishing

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    You may learn through the sheer volume of work, although it's hardly good work. A few good apples can be found in middle management. The health insurance is free, although you have to wait six months to get it, and there is no dental.

    Cons

    Read the previous reviews for the horror stories, they are all true. All positive reviews were written by the few office lackeys of the CEO after his direct request to do so. But to recap, if you decide to work here, you can look forward to laughable salaries, especially at the bottom, one week starting vacation, no 401K, no dental, waiting for six months until your basic health insurance kicks in. There is no proper review procedure so raises are infrequent and arbitrary. There is no HR department, so if you have any grievances, you have no one to talk to. Even all of that could be bearable at a company with a healthy office culture and clear mission, but don't expect any of that: just a bunch of overworked drones, pumping out insane volumes of reprints (many pubic domain), or, worse, dangerous drivel by right-wing conspiracy theorists, anti-vaccine crowd, medical quacks and the like. Every now and again a decent book/author will be acquired, likely through a desperate/inexperienced agent who sells the author on the tiny advance, only to receive very little support from the publisher--no ads, no marketing, almost no publicity from a three person PR department that handles 500 books a season, no bookseller outreach, no social media outreach, and the list goes on. The CEO is only interested in making money through predatory deals acquiring defunct publishers and pillaging their backlist, which is somehow paraded as evidence of his publishing genius (he did luck into a Nobel winner that way, believe it or not). His business practices are also ethically questionable, from lowballing authors on advances, to putting an active agent in charge of an imprint, to refusing paying various vendors for their services and then threatening legal action when they ask for payment. The office culture is depressing. As a female, I'm very weary of the boys club in the upper management. Thoughtless, casual sexism is constantly present, from an overbearing publisher and the dismissive CEO. There is very little rhyme or reason for the hiring policies of the company, with summary firings common a few times a year. A bunch of people get fired, which is presented as "restructuring," then a bunch of new people take their place, only to be let go a year later. That creates an atmosphere of intimidation among the employees, because no one knows if they'll be next. I took this job hoping to learn and grow, but now all I can think about is how to get out.

    Advice to Management

    Please stop asking your lackeys to post fake positive reviews--they're obvious, and it's embarrassing. Don't try to cover up the bad things about the company, and maybe try to address them instead?


  9. Helpful (6)

    Say goodbye to your ambitions, hopes, and dreams.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Skyhorse Publishing full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    You can eat lunch at your desk, and they pay you in money and not dirt. The junior staff is full of incredibly capable people who would do a fantastic job if they had the time to think.

    Cons

    You cease having an identity and you become a commodity. Your enthusiasm for publishing is used as a chain to keep you at your desk. There is no upward mobility, just an increasing amount of job responsibility. You are not allowed to think of solutions on your own, you are ordered to fix things according to the whims of the Associate Publisher, who is spread thin from his constant micromanagement of every employee. Upper management is either too involved or completely absent. The CEO steps out of the office for weeks at a time, mainly during the busiest seasons of the year. Deadlines are laughably tight, and are frequently missed. As for e-mailing, if you do not answer an e-mail in time, you are visited by the Associate Publisher demanding an instant answer to the problem, without any regard for the 50 other projects you have to manage for him. There is no sense that any of these projects take any time, and unless you meet the deadlines, you are fired unceremoniously. As for the work you will be asked to do, it is the most base dreck and wildly dangerous non-fiction. The catalogs skew to the conspiracy theorist market and to anti-vaccine crusaders. Unless you are firmly in these camps yourself, or you are not prone to introspection, you will be toiling away on gross misinformation that only brings humans down as a species. Unless you are lucky and you get to work on public domain titles that have been out of print for nearly a century. The authors are either dead, hacks, convicted felons, or vultures. They are all unpleasant and use the excuse of being paid the industry's lowest advance as an excuse to make your life even worse than it is. The employee culture is predatory and dangerous. I personally had my job threatened in front of the entire staff. One associate fell ill from working over 20 hours a day for nearly 2 weeks. Every staff member I spoke to in my years at this company has multiple stories of being driven to tears by upper management, myself included. The stress will make you sick, and the owners of the company think it's hilarious that they make so many people cry. The associate publisher tells you to shake it off as he laughs about the numerous coworkers he's made cry. That, by the way, is not normal behavior. Getting to know your fellow co-workers is a near impossibility. Most everyone is too frazzled, frustrated, or busy to have a proper conversation to show off their good side. Any socializing is quickly shushed. When an earthquake rumbled through NYC several years ago, the office was a little jumpy and scared, not knowing what to do in the event that we were stuck on the 9th floor during a real emergency. Amidst the murmur, the associate publisher scolded everyone to get back to work. The pay is criminal. The starting salary has actually gone down since the company opened 10 years ago. There is no clear way to ever earn a raise. There is no money for consistent raises as the money mostly goes to buying up failing publishers and pillaging their back catalog. If the company is prospering, you'd never know, but if the company is failing, then everybody feels the hurt. If you do manage to disassociate long enough to make it through your day and complete your workload, you are not rewarded in any way. The only employee benefits I have seen during my time were 1 holiday bonus of $50, champagne when we hit the bestsellers list for the first time, and numerous pints of ice cream during the summer. These benefits are slightly better than those of an inmate at Riker's Island. At least at Riker's, they let you go home early if you behave yourself. This job made me hate the work I do and even the creative process. Skyhorse is an unrepentant publishing sweatshop. I resent books. I have no motivation to ever find a similar position at another company. These people are the worst kind of bullies.

    Advice to Management

    Stop.


  10. Helpful (6)

    Abusive, awful place to work.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Skyhorse Publishing full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    If you have absolutely no experience, they'll hire you and give you a fancy title. (You will be sacrificing an acceptable starting salary, benefits and a true learning experience.)

    Cons

    There are only 5-8 people that have stayed with this company long term - they are the people that were hired when the company was first formed and they will likely never leave. Any good review that you see here is by one of these loyal employees. Other than those few people, it is like a never-ending revolving door of employees. People get hired and fired at the whim of a few. There is no management. No direction. No vision. And needless to say, no respect for the employees. This is not true publishing. There is no original work being published. This is a reprint house: this company buys other small publishers that are going under and reprints their lists. Just take a look at any Skyhorse book: they are not a sight to behold. Horrible production value and little original content.

    Advice to Management

    There is no advice. These people are in this game to take advantage of naive, inexperienced people and make a quick buck.


  11. Helpful (5)

    Stick it out for something better

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Skyhorse Publishing full-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great authors, tremendous learning experience because you are so inundated with taskes you have no choice but to adapt.

    Cons

    Hierarchies in upper-management, unfriendly colleagues, astronomical and unreasonable work loads, and humiliating pay

    Advice to Management

    Treat employees with the respect they deserve and pay them respectively! And stop gossiping.



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