Friday, February 8, 2013

Daily Life

Someone asked about the daily life as an editor...  hmmm...

To start this week, I had 31 items on my "To-Do" list.  Some things on that list were quick and easy, such as I needed to email Kathleen Ernst with information she needs so we can put photos of particular antiques in her next book, Heritage of Darkness.  But I also needed to read four full manuscripts, each one taking at least half a day.  My biggest item on the list was to acquire two manuscripts for the Winter 2014 season - and that I can't quantify.  Does anyone want to guess how many items are crossed off my To-Do list?  10.

10 out of 31.  Yikes.

Ok, to the nuts and bolts of what I do daily.  First I check my email and respond to anything that has exploded overnight.  Second, I get a cup of tea.  Then all heck breaks loose.  :)

There are any number of meetings I may have to attend -

  • a one-on-one meeting with my boss, the Publisher
  • the weekly acquisitons meeting where the acquiring editors present the books we want to publish.  Most weeks I have nothing, other weeks I might have three or four books.
  • vision meeting - once we have decided to go forward on a book, there is small group meeting where we discuss content and what changes we may want the author to make.
  • production planning - the physical nuts and bolts meeting - how many pages, any artwork/photos, etc.
  • launch meeting - the BIG meeting.  here we decide on the title, cover direction, series name, etc.
  • cover meeting - after the designer has put together mock up covers, a small group chooses what cover we like best, make suggestions for changes and then the designer finds an artist to produce/illustrate the final cover.

Besides scheduled meetings, at any time the cover designer might pop over for a quick question on the cover direction, or ask my opinion on an element or an illustrator.

I see every routing that happens for a book.  Cover design, back cover copy, galley copy, and catalog copy.  I have to read and sign off on all of them.  It isn't unusual for any of those routings to route 3-4 times.

I was just interrupted, so I have forgotten what I was going to say next!  Hmmm... I no longer have to create and negotiate contracts, I do negotiate the offer.  That can be as simple as a day or over a week.  Right now I have two offers and I am waiting to hear back from the agents.  When those agents accept the offers, then I send our contracts person all the info she needs.

Since today is Friday, it is generally a meeting free day.  We only schedule meetings on Fridays if the meeting is time sensitive and we can't work it in earlier in the week.  So today I will spend the day trying to find another book for my Winter 2014 catalog.  Everything else on the list will have to wait.  Which means I will start Monday with a list of at least 21 To-Do items.  :(

And the reality of my day is that I have no idea what shape my day will take.  The process of walking a book through production is long and requires a lot of steps along the way.  I will save the nuts and bolts for another post, but a village of people work on every book.  We work collaboratively with each other and with the author to produce the best book possible.

I didn't include writing a blog post on my To-Do list, so sadly, I don't get to cross that off.  So I better get back to reading submissions.  And maybe I can cross that off my list next week.


Kelly said...

I'm pretty sure I'm the one who interrupted you. Sorry! :)

Terri Bischoff said...

LOL, it's ok Kelly. It was perfect because it totally highlighted the total fragmentation of my working day. :)

Besides, it was a very important question. I need those contracts wrapped up"

Kathleen Ernst said...

Evidently I better get crackin' on those photos!