Thursday, March 1, 2007

Managing Editor

Sorry for the delay in getting this new post out there. Blogger has had some outages this week and I was unable to access it. Keep checking back, because I'm doing some exciting research with freelance editors, I have some other great guest experts lined up, and I'm planning a post about salaries, which is something I am always asked. Now, to continue the story of my own career:

When the opportunity arose (as the result of a merger) to work on travel guides, I jumped at it. I went to the managing editor and told him I really wanted to be on his team. Pretty quickly, he made it happen. So I went back to the title of Senior Production Editor. The new team did books for four different imprints, but the travel guides were the most attractive to me. So I was fortunate enough to be asked to specialize in them.

In addition to the challenge of learning a new style guide, new design specifications, and new processes, we quickly found another obstacle we hadn't anticipated. In order for us to have these jobs, people in New York had been laid off. So those who remained were not all that into the idea of helping us succeed (really, I'm being kind). In addition, most of them had only recently learned to use a computer (which continues to blow my mind to this day). So it was much more difficult than it needed to be.

As Senior Production Editor, I was in charge of making sure our production editors learned the very intricate style guide (68 jam-packed pages). I often managed 12 or more book projects simultaneously (and some people on the team had as many as 20). I was often a liaison between disgruntled proofreaders in Indianapolis and disgruntled editors in New York. And I attended production scheduling meetings held over the speakerphone with the people in New York.

I was eventually promoted to Managing Editor for the travel titles. In addition to doing everything mentioned previously, I often led the production scheduling meetings (in which people from all parts of the process reported on the status of every project we were working on—dozens upon dozens at a time, and a total of 600 books a year for our group). Our goal was to avoid any books being late to the printer.

After our overall managing editor left, we began reporting to a manager in New York. I was in charge of making sure the day-to-day operations ran smoothly when he wasn't in town. I also coordinated all freelance copy editors, and had a pool of 50 people I trained and matched with the books they were best suited to doing. I also managed all corrections to be made to books that were being reprinted. And I led quarterly staff trips to the New York office, where our new production editors got to meet the editors they worked with over the phone and e-mail.

After three years, Macmillan was sold to Pearson. Pearson kept the computer books but put the reference division up for sale. That was my cue to move on to my next role—as Development Editor at JIST Publishing.

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