Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Day In The Life Of An Editor

Before I turn you loose on Nancy's post #3, I'm happy to report that Sammy Keyes and the Killer Cruise is off my desk and on Nancy's. So although she's said she'll answer questions from last week and you'll see her here again from time to time, I'm planning to be back to do the full post next week (while she gets notes together about my book and sends it back to me for Round 2).

And also, first a little explanation about the picture.

I've told Nancy many times over the years that she looks like Snow White. It just strikes me when I see her and then it pops out of my mouth. Call me Dopey, but I just can't help it.

Well, on the wall of the movie theater where she and I attended a Flipped movie premiere, there was a mural of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  So of course I got all excited and made her pose like Snow White in front of Snow White. And since it was a Flipped premiere there were little fuzzy chicks everywhere, which is how we managed to get a little bird in the picture, too. So now I have proof. Am I right, or what?

Anyway! Here's Nancy....
* * *


Wendelin thought her readers might be interested in a day-in-the-life of an editor.  But really, each day is different—with the exception that I hardly ever accomplish what I intended to do that morning.  Things just tend to come up.  Which is why I try to work from home one day a week.  I think what will surprise most people is what doesn’t happen from nine to five (well, ten to seven-thirty).

What I do at my desk / in the office:

  • Email. Reading it—questions from authors and agents; updates from marketing, publicity and sales; book reviews; industry newsletters; notices of reprints, first prints, out of prints; the google alerts I’ve put on my authors; requests for meetings; submissions.  Writing it—answering questions from authors and agents; passing on the good and bad news from all that’s come in; requesting more info from pretty much everyone, and then disseminating the answers; passing myriad big and small requests to the assistant editor who helps me (blessings upon her).
  • Write long letters to authors extolling the virtues of their book and pointing out any weaknesses, holes, confusions.  Try to give a road map for how to make the book even stronger.
  • Write the copy for book jackets, catalogs, sales reps’ tip sheets, on-line book descriptions.
  • Prep manuscripts so they are in the proper format for copy editors and designers to deal with.  (The system for doing this seems to change yearly, requiring training on new systems, and a good deal of cursing.)
  • Review books in progress as they are set into type, proofread, corrected, and proofread again—as many times as it takes to get it right.
  • Eat lunch (occasionally dinner).
  • Meet with designers to talk about the illustrations for picture books and the possibilities for jacket art for novels.
  • Prepare presentations of my books for meetings with sales and marketing and publicity; slightly different presentations for meeting with librarians or teachers.  Always, always, always trying to explain the particular strengths and wondrousness of each book.
  • Go to meetings—prepare for meetings, follow up after meetings…
  • Talk on the phone with agents and authors and colleagues (and, okay, my mother).
  • Prepare a case for new books I’d like to take on—a written estimation of why the book is great, who will love it, who will buy it, how we’ll pitch it in-house and out-of-house, long term plan for the author, how much revision the book requires, and create a p&l (profit & loss statement) with some supportable guess of how many we’ll print, how many we’ll sell, what the costs to the company will be and what the potential profit might be.
  • Negotiate the terms for new contracts with agents.
  • Meet with authors, agents, and foreign publishers.
  • Talk with other editors about the difficulties that come up; ask and offer advice about how to handle things; generally kvetch about the things out of our control; offer congratulations or commiseration as needed.
What I rarely, if ever, do in the office:

  • Read.
  • Edit.


Yusa said...

Wow... Busy life. When you wanted to become an editor did you have any idea it was going to be like this?

Unknown said...

u r rite she does look like snow white!!!!=)
When i first saw the picture thats EXACTLY wat i thought, she looks like snow white!!!! I even thought for a split secound is she an actor?
The picture looks so happy and sunshiny and it made me laugh=) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =) =)
wow an editor does alot, i had no idea at all, thank you for telling us=) loooove the picture=)!!!=)

Gabrielle said...

Wow. It's ironic I mean people think an editor,you know,edits and reads but you rarely do that stuff. And that sounds like a very busy job! But I bet it feels like a huge accomplishment when a book does well! And nancy does look like snow white. :)

Optimistic4ever said...

Snow White, defenitly.

And that sounds really tiring and not at all what I expect the job to be like. Busy as a bee!

Kylie said...

Yes she looks a great deal like snow white.

And that is A really busy day. I thought I was busy, but wow that is a lot. I bet you are proud when I boom does great.


city said...

thanks for sharing.

bookworm said...

You do look like Snow White!
And that comment about the "What I hardly ever do: Read and edit," was a trip. :)

And happy birthday to me. :)

Unknown said...

happy birthday=)

Yusa said...

OMG it's my friends birthday to... and Beyonce i think. and apparently 14 other peopl in my school that i don't know. It's my birthday on friday. Happy birthday.

Optimistic4ever said...

Happy birthday Bookworm!

Isabellaisy said...

Happy Birthday

Isabellaisy said...

I want Ask a question......If Sammy Keyes was real How would she look like?Same with Marissa,And Casey,And Billy, Holly too, Maybe even Dot,And lady Lana,Oh yea also Grams.If it's too hard,please tell me the answer too the first question,PLZ??

Jessica said...

Oops, my comment didn't go through earlier. Happy belated Birthday, Bookworm!

That sounds crazy busy -- and you left off two activities that I'm sure add considerable time to your work week. So, two more questions:

1) How many hours do you spend each week reading/editing?

2) How many hours do you work per week?