There, I said it. Now, without any shame, I can share some of it.
... Well, maybe not shame, but maybe an explanation (defense?). I'm very sensitive to the words "nepotism" and "merit", which many would consider competing concepts. Of course, many others have benefited from nepotism before without any guilt, but I just wouldn't be interesting if I were blithe about it, now would I?
The hypothetical charge against me: I wouldn't have gotten this job if the author hadn't been my sister. To which I can only say: you're right. Honestly, even now, I wouldn't know where to find similar work, and I'd love to.
In my defense: I note that my sister hired me for the revision; she genuinely felt that I could improve on material that she'd previously published. Also, my sister is VERY discriminating and wouldn't give me a pass on anything I'd written if she weren't confident I would do a good job- especially if her name was attached to it.
So, yes, nepotism. But in this case I am comfortable that it was not "you couldn't get a job without a relative or a friend" but rather "the people closest to you are confident you can write for them."
And I can.
I was excited to research and write about the history of Thailand. It was only the second time in my life that I was able to put my History Bachelor's to work, and I'm all for feeling like I didn't waste my degree.
I read two types of books for my research: history and other travel guides. When I was done, I decided I wanted my final product to be somewhere in-between: not as erudite as the histories, but perhaps a little more substantial than what you might expect from a guidebook. When my sister remarked that she actually learned something after she reviewed my submission, I felt like I'd succeeded.
Hopefully you will too.