The Role of Editorial Assistant
Firstly, let me start by saying that everyone at the company has been really nice – even the post guy, who learnt my name within a few days. Everyone has been so welcoming and patient and helpful. The building itself is extremely impressive – eco-friendly, spaciously designed, has a cafe, a restaurant, a gym… It’s amazing.
I expect that the title ‘editorial assistant’ means different things to different publishers. As I work with educational books, I expect that the role of an editorial assistant who works with fiction would be fairly different.
These are generally the types of things I have been doing these past few weeks:
- Writing questionnaires about textbooks or book proposals; finding tutors to reviewer them; gathering up the reviews; writing review summaries to pass on to the authors. Quite a large chunk of my time has been spent doing this, so far.
- Keeping in touch with the authors; checking up on how their manuscripts are coming along, etc.
- Working with the contracts team to make sure the right information gets put into contracts, then posting them out and keeping track of them.
- Many of our books have extra features (e.g. companion websites). It’s my job to sort out the supplements that the author provides, and make it easily accessible and presentable for the sups team.
- I’ve only done one of these (and with a lot of help). Making sure manuscripts are presentable and everything is included, so that the production team can work on them.
- One of my favourite parts of the job. Briefing the design team on cover ideas; collaborating with other team members and the authors on improving designs, choosing designs, etc.
- I quite enjoy this. Writing the blurbs for new books/new editions.
- Making sure the right people get paid the right amount for the right thing. Basically, I have to fill out the forms – the payments team deal with the actual money.
- Checking that the preliminary pages of a new book are all in order. Making sure all the rights are covered, and the contents list matches up etc.
- Putting together reports/data sets of potential markets for new books, that kinda thing.
- Putting data into the big database we use, to make sure that all the electronic information about books and their publishing schedules are up to date. Quite tricky – the database is huge and I’m still getting to grips with it.
- Haven’t done this yet, but I’m meeting up with one of our author’s on Monday with my boss to talk about his new book proposal, which I have gathered the reviews for.
- I post out a lot of books. Mostly to reviewers, but I recently had to post out about thirty books to a bunch of contributors as part of their payment.
- There are weekly meetings held to discuss whether or not a new book should be published. I don’t say much in these meetings yet as I’m still learning a lot, and feel I don’t yet have much of value to add to the discussion, but I find these meeting interesting nevertheless.
- This is a big part of the job. It is compulsory to drink at least three-four cups a day (many editorial assistants drink much more than this – but they’ve had more experience than me!).
In all, I feel like I’ve learnt a huge amount over these few weeks. And I still have a lot more to learn. I’m enjoying it and feel very privileged to be working for such a great company.