A day in the life of a commissioning editor

headshothAmong other things, Emily has worked as a picture researcher, a freelance copy editor, proofreader and indexer, and has also contributed to several books on fashion and design, including The Fashion Dictionary and Fashion: The Whole Story. She’s now a Commissioning Editor at RotoVision.

7:30 After an early start I get the train along the south coast to Brighton, where the RotoVision office is based. In July this year a new Quarto office was opened with 7 of our imprints housed under one roof – making it the largest publishing hub in the South East. The best thing about working in Brighton is the wealth of local talent available – it’s a city filled with creative people which makes it a very inspirational place to work.

8:30 My first task is to reply to any emails that have come in overnight from authors or illustrators in the US or Australasia. As we work with many US and international publishing houses we have to make sure we create books that appeal to an international audience. This quiet period is also the perfect time to edit any texts that have come in.

9:00 Most people are in the office and this is when it gets really busy. The office is a combination of people working on books that are in production (live books) and those of us working on potential books (BLADS) – with quite a lot of overlap between the two when required.

10:00 We have our weekly BLAD catch up meeting with editorial and the in-house design team where we discuss progress on all the books we are hoping to put into production. These meetings usually last a couple of hours as we hammer out initial concepts, content and design and discuss scheduling and workload.

12:30 Well-deserved lunch break after all that talking. We are very lucky in that our office is less than a minute from the beach – it’s a great place to take a breather and think about new ideas while you take in some restorative sea air!

1:30 I spend a good couple of hours a day sourcing new illustrators and authors for our books. Our method of working is somewhat unusual as we generally come up with an idea in-house and then find talented authors to work with.  Once an author or illustrator has been approached and seems interested in our idea the negotiation starts, where we have to agree on a fee and a timetable that will suit us both.

3:00 A part of my day is inevitably dedicated to admin. I have to work up contracts and author briefs, update our schedule and finance spreadsheets and make sure all our synopses are up to date.

4:00 A final check through of emails. I like to fire off as many author approaches as possible at the end of the day as there’s nothing better than arriving in the morning to see an inbox full of yeses from people!