On being an Editorial Assistant [part 3]

Editorial Assistant

This is guest blog from Norah Myers. Norah works for an independent publisher in Toronto. Her job blends editorial with marketing; she helps support an editorial team, evaluates manuscripts, acquires new authors, and manages crowd-funding campaigns. She trained at City University London.

1. Be organized

So much of your day will involve scheduling, managing, liaising, coordinating, and keeping on top of multiple ongoing projects. In Dr Meg Jay’s book The Defining Decade, she writes about understanding where you want to get to by outlining everything backwards. You figure out what the end-point is and then discern how you will get there by outlining the steps backwards. Then you can work forwards.

2. Know your strength

If you are a science fiction proofreader, don’t take on an edit for a work of literary fiction. It sounds like common sense, but it can be an easy trap to fall into if you don’t set your boundaries and keep them clear, especially when you’re first starting out and need all the work you can get. Define what it is you want as an editor, play to your best strengths, and believe you are worthy of the work you feel most capable of doing.

3. A good author-editor relationship is essential

So much of publishing involves a good relationship between publisher and author. Even the most brilliant writer can be turned down if she as a person is disingenuous or difficult to work with. Pay attention to how you come across and focus on building the best possible relationships you can have with your publishing colleagues and the authors with whom you work.

You can also read On being an Editorial Assistant [part 1] and On being an Editorial Assistant [part 2].