Gailen Runge (pronouced run-gee) has been working at C&T Publishing for just over ten years. I asked her to share a few thoughts about her time at this wonderful playground we call “the office”…
I’ve been at C&T since October 1, 2002.I started as a technical editor.
I was hesitant to send in my résumé.I had been in publishing for 10 years and then I started my own custom-made quilt business. I missed publishing and working on a team. I owned lots of C&T books (Alex Anderson’s Simply Stars was on my bookshelf and I was waiting to make a quilt from it). To me, C&T was Mecca—I’m a quilter and an editor, and the office was a 20-minute drive from my house. I fantasized about getting a job but kept delaying sending in my résumé. What if they said no? Then the dream was gone. Needless to say, I pulled myself together and sent in a résumé.
I was a technical editor for just under a year before being promoted to editorial director. The lovely woman in that position before me left and put me forward for the job. I still had to interview with 13 people before they hired me for it!
I became creative director a few years later, combing the editorial and production departments into the creative department.
Now I oversee everything from acquisitions through editing, photography, and design into manufacturing. When the books and products arrive in our warehouse, ownership of the project officially passes off to sales and marketing.
When I started, we produced 40–44 books a year and some stationery. We were just closing down a line of wrapping paper.
We now do more than 60 books a year in our core C&T imprint, our Stash Books imprint, and an exciting new imprint launching in March 2013. We have an amazing line of gift products, tools, and consumable products, not to mention our electronic offerings, including apps and ebooks as well as PatternSpot.com.
We’ve had some amazingly exciting successes during my tenure. Many I had a hand in—sometimes large and sometimes very small. We really are team-oriented here and that collaboration makes everything better. It improves the product or effort and it makes it so much more fun. So even things I had nothing to do with give me a great sense of pride in the product and in the group and a sense of success.
The first book I ever worked on, I believe, was Piece O’ Cake’s Contemporary Classics in Plaids and Stripes. I worked on many Piece O’ Cake books and have loved getting to know the authors, Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins over the years.
The first big thing I was a part of was being the technical editor at our how-to photo shoots. I worked with Diane Pederson on them. We were figuring out how to do them—how to set up the shots, how to best show hands. We were set up in our conference room for each shoot. Diane was the photographer on the shoots. She was also the first C&T employee. She’s been here 23 years and has held nearly every position. I was so new and so green during the first shoots, and I was so intimidated by Diane. She’s smart, amazingly creative, and beautifully graceful and composed. She totally has it all pulled together. I felt so out of my depth then! Diane has expanded our photo efforts and has worked with other wonderful photographers to set up our own in-house photo studio and a whole process for taking the exciting set shot photography we feature in our Stash Books. So creative!
What I love the most
I love the team here. From the support of the owners (Todd and Tony Hensley) to the amazing leadership and creativity of the publisher (Amy Marson) to everyone in every department, we are really a family. If I need a hand, if I need a pat on the back, or if I need a new solution, I can get it anywhere in this building. We care about each other professionally and personally, and it’s an incredibly creative and supportive and healthy place to be.
When it comes to products and books, I can’t pick my favorite. I really like them all. And because I anthropomorphize everything, I’d actually feel guilty if I did pick a favorite! Kind of like my kids…
Thank you, Gailen! Right on! Oh, and in case you were wondering, Gailen’s nickname— “Right On”—actually started during my time at C&T, which has only been 4 months! During one of our regular meetings that occurs for every title we publish—we were, admittedly, a little punch-drunk (you know, when you are tired and done but still happy to be doing what you’re doing?)—and Amy, our publisher just started saying “Right On” Runge and, well, it stuck. At least for me it did!