Skyhorse Publishing

www.skyhorsepublishing.com

Skyhorse Publishing Reviews

Updated January 27, 2015
Updated January 27, 2015
18 Reviews
2.5
18 Reviews
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Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Tony Lyons
12 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

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

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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)

    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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    I was an unpaid intern who was ignored by most management, including my supervisor

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

    I worked at Skyhorse Publishing as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    Some kind staff, small staff

    Cons

    large number of unpaid interns, company values, office environment, office culture, little to no face to face contact with anyone, e-mail based culture, no pay, no benefits

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay your interns, consider investing in them and giving them real mentorship

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

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

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

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

    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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Equal Opportunity

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

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

    Pros

    Skyhorse Publishing company is for someone who wholeheartedly likes to work. What you give to the company is what the company will give back to you. If you're interested in learning about publishing, working hard and advancing according to your effort, this is an ideal place. It very much offers an equal opportunity in that whoever is willing and able to work hard and is open to learning whatever there is to learn about both conventional and unconventional publishing, regardless of prior credentials and education, will advance quickly. Independence, heart, ego-free and creative thinking is appreciated in this company. It's an exiting business that vibrates with courage and hope. Tony Lyons, the publisher, is deeply committed to justice and freedom of speech and is willing to publish whatever he believes in, regardless of potential consequences. He is the hardest working man I have ever met. Building Skyhorse from the ground up, during the toughest time in history for publishing, his publishing company is expanding faster than any other company in the city, possibly in the U.S. He works day and night, and will recognize and reward this quality in others. Employees who likes a laid back environment with lots of breaks and opportunities to handle personal business throughout the work day as well as short work-days an lots of vacation, will not be happy in this environment and will not last long. Skyhorse offers entry level employment.

    Cons

    Skhyhorse requires a lot from it's employees. It's very hard work and often long days. If you're looking for a traditional internship, this may not be a good match. Rather, Skyhorse offers part-time work with unlimited opportunities to advance if you are willing to work very hard, with an attitude of wanting to get the job done, without discriminating between tasks

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Don't be fooled...

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

    I worked at Skyhorse Publishing as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    The mid-level editors are amazing!

    Cons

    The few positive reviews on here are posted by senior editors or maybe even Tony Lyons himself.

    Skyhorse routinely hires interns and editorial assistants at a laughable wage (it was increased, many former employees suspect, because word got out about the $20K starting pay).

    My time as an intern at Skyhorse was demoralizing. I put my head down, worked hard, went above and beyond expectations and was still spoken to so disrespectfully that I questioned my every move. The mid-level editors are talented, helpful, and encouraging - they went out their way to ensure that we interns received both positive and constructive feedback.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please check your egos and stop treating interns and entry-level employees as personal assistants. We'd like to learn and be treated as fellow colleagues.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Skyhorse Publishing Response

    Nov 4, 2014Executive Director of Production

    Thanks for your feedback on your internship experience at Skyhorse! We're always striving to improve our internship program as we grow and evolve as a company. Our editorial interns perform a range ... More

  7.  

    Semi decent internship experience

    Former Employee - Intern in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Intern in New York, NY

    I worked at Skyhorse Publishing as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    Interns get to work in several different departments instead of being limited to just one like other internships. Some of the people are nice and want you to learn.

    Cons

    Most of the people there don't care about your internship experience and how much you learn. I did more grunt work than anything else. Picking up a slice of pizza for someone or dragging 50 pound mail bags to the post office (all for no pay) didn't teach me much about publishing.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Appreciate interns more.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    You Deserve Better

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Skyhorse Publishing full-time

    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).

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Skyhorse Publishing Response

    Nov 4, 2014Executive 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

  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Predatory, misleading, unethical.

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

    I have been working at Skyhorse Publishing

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 4 people found this helpful  

    Say goodbye to your ambitions, hopes, and dreams.

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

    I worked at Skyhorse Publishing full-time

    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 ManagementAdvice

    Stop.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 4 people found this helpful  

    Disappointing and disheartening.

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

    I worked at Skyhorse Publishing as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    One hour lunch break?

    The majority of the staff is very friendly, and really talented. It was a definitely a pleasure working with, and learning from them.

    Cons

    The salaries (hourly included), books, and senior staff are all lau-gh-ab-le.

    The content is subpar. Just perusing FINISHED interiors of their books led me to find countless spelling and grammar mistakes. Is there anything more embarrassing for a publishing house?

    Quantity is not quality, and I'm pretty sure the world wouldn't miss having less of these lousy books around.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    ANY kind of feedback would be nice. After 4 months of not getting any sense of how I was doing (just going by pure self-motivation, which by the way you won't get noticed on) and then being told one day I could leave my position early was quite disheartening and left me reeling.

    The business model is so degrading- to authors and staff. 50 staff members for over 200 titles a season? No wonder there was $26 million in revenue last year- the royalties, advance, and salary expenses (starting is $20,000/year!!! How is that even okay!?) must have been negligible, proving a corrupt and morally mismanaged business model.

    There shouldn't be enough interns to start a football team. That's just absurd. Hire some real staff, and don't use the "offering learning experience" excuse. No one needs experience in sorting mail.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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