Ever wondered what an in-house editor who works for a publishing company does? Contrary to popular belief, it’s a lot more than correcting spelling, punctuation and grammar. Here’s a look at a typical day.
The job: My role is to ensure that titles are published to specification, schedule and budget. Once a manuscript is submitted to Editorial by the publisher, it’s my job to make sure the publisher’s vision for the title is carried out, there are no errors, the Editorial costs don’t exceed the allocated budget, and it’s released to the printer or sent live in time for when the market expects it. This involves project management of the various production stages, and liaising with the people from various departments, both internal and external, who turn the manuscript into a published product.
8:30am: The first thing I do when I arrive at the office is check my emails. I use this time to prioritise what’s come in — queries from authors, freelance editors and publishers; queries from vendors; requests from other departments; meeting invitations; and work that I need to action. I can be confirming art specifications, helping an author prepare their manuscript, advising a freelance editor how to prioritise their workload, and monitoring correspondence about the status of permissions requests. I respond to anything urgent, and flag the rest to reply to later in the day. I also check my schedule for meeting times and the day’s to-do list, which I update in my diary at the end of each day.
10am: I try to schedule internal meetings in this time slot, especially during daylight savings when our other Australian office is in a different time zone. It’s also one of the better times to meet with our office in the United States. These meetings can involve discussions with stakeholders in order to come to a decision about an aspect of the project, weekly progress meetings, and conducting training sessions. If I’m not in a meeting, this is the best time to catch me at my desk with queries.
11am: I return phone calls just before lunch. I try to make all phone calls in the morning, to give the person at the other end enough time to action what I’ve asked them to do. I find phone calls are better for discussing complex tasks that take a long time to explain in an email. They’re also useful if we’re working to tight time frames and need to cover a lot of points in a short period of time. I’ll also move anything urgent off my desk, again so the person I’m passing the job on to has enough time to action it that same day.
1pm: We work with a lot of overseas vendors, and they start to come online just after lunch, so I usually return to my desk to find a number of email responses to queries I sent that morning. Again, I action anything urgent, and flag the rest for later. I also confirm agenda items for my afternoon meetings.
2pm: This is one of the best times to meet with our overseas vendors. These meetings involve updates on the components of the project, troubleshooting and training. If I’m not meeting with vendors, this is a good time to hold any internal meetings that we weren’t able to fit in the morning time slot.
3pm: You can usually find me at my desk now, working through my to-do list. This includes briefing freelance editors, sending page proofs to publishers and freelance editors, checking edited manuscript or page proofs received from the freelance editor and passing them through to the next stage of production, reviewing covers and internal designs, monitoring schedules, conducting platform tests, liaising with other departments to resolve things like permission requests, writing meeting notes, writing reports, updating work instructions and all parties affected by the update, and scheduling meetings.
4pm: I set aside the final hour of the day to respond to my flagged emails. Again, I work through them based on priority, and try to reply to them all before I leave the office for the day. Before I go home, I like to update my to-do list for the next day to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.