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Editorial and Marketing Assistant [JOB POSTING]

Schofield & Sims is seeking an enthusiastic Editorial and Marketing Assistant to join their central London office, where you will be working on educational resources for both the school and trade markets.

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Top 5 skills an Editorial Assistant needs

Zoe Sharples is Temporary General Editorial Assistant at Vintage Books, and a student on the UCL MA in Publishing. She has recently completed internships with The Publishers Association and Granta & Portobello Books. She is an Editorial Committee member of the Society of Young Publishers. 

1) Communication

Forget about those hard skills like Biblio, Adobe and Office for a second; I’m going to focus on some vitally important soft skills. The cheese to the crackers. And who doesn’t like cheese? Verbal and written communication are essentials. You’ve got to be able to pick up the phone, no matter who’s on the other end: relax, take details and don’t be afraid to say you’ll call back. Most people are nice, and you are a competent snowflake. When you’re communicating with the written word, think about the context you’re writing in and who your audience is. We’re all about readers, so make their day with your well-crafted email/blog post/blurb.

2) Attention to Detail

I don’t think this is specific to Editorial, but it certainly comes in handy. Everyone has hiccups, but being able to maintain your attention to detail throughout a working day is vital, especially with multiple tasks on the go. This skill encompasses not only spelling and grammar but replying to emails in a timely manner, following up with contacts and ensuring you have all the information you need before a meeting. If you’re writing a cover letter to apply for an Editorial Assistant role, make sure you’ve triple checked it.

3)  Initiative

I’m going to sidle creativity in with this one, a cheeky 3.1. Never think, ‘I am doing an administrative task’. You are probably doing an administrative task, but consider where your task fits in to the publishing process. Think about the most efficient way to achieve the task. If you’re reading a manuscript which is up for consideration, make connections to current books/films/trends. When you’re investigating image rights before sending to a foreign publisher, make like you’re on Heir Hunters.

4)  Teamwork

Linking in with NO.1 – communication – make sure you converse with your colleagues. Get to know what they do, and ask if you can be of any help. If you’re given a task by someone, keep that person updated on your progress. At interview stage, you’re thinking, ‘I hope they like me’; remember, it’s important to gel with the team, too. I’ve been lucky enough to work in wonderfully interesting and diverse teams, each with a good sense of humour and a mutual objective.

 5)  Organisation

If you’re reading BookMachine, I’m sure you’re well-organised. I constantly use all of my will-power and the myriad tools at my disposal (calendar, diary, apps, pens) to remain organised. The most valuable thing I’ve learnt so far is the importance of prioritising tasks, and being realistic with allocating your time. Try not to productively procrastinate, with too many networking events or that wonderful book your friend just lent you. I’m still learning.

 Thanks to Norah Myers for sourcing this guest post. 

On being an assistant editor: Kate Ellis interview

Kate Ellis is Assistant Editor at Avon, HarperCollins’ commercial fiction arm. Before emigrating over the border to London, Kate had a crash course in publishing at three Independent Welsh publishers and spent 18 months dabbling in education books in Athens, Greece (with lots of hilarious stories to tell). Here Norah Myers interviews her on the step up from Editorial Assistant.

1) How have your responsibilities increased since you became an assistant editor?

My responsibilities have changed enormously. I’ve taken on authors of my own which means I’m now not only co-ordinating copyedits, I’m editing myself. I’m briefing my own covers (EEK) – seeing an idea that you have in your head come to life and actually look good is such a rush. I now have the opportunity to acquire books (I’ve recently acquired my first title), build relationships with authors and agents, do cover research and briefs, write social media campaigns, and actually have a say in what we publish and say things to authors like, ‘this is going to sound crazy, but go with me…’ (hopefully they do).

It has been really challenging managing my own work, while also assisting and taking on work from others. I’ve earned the privilege of pushing back and saying ‘no’ to extra work. I’ve just got to learn how to say it…!

2) What is decision-making like in your new role, and how have you learned to trust your decisions as part of your new responsibilities?

It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Ever. But also the most liberating. For the first few months, I kind of sat back and allowed the people around me to guide me and give me ideas to work from. I adopted the ‘I’m just an assistant, what do I know?’ attitude. Multiple heads are certainly better than one (especially when they’re experienced heads), but I’ve learned that I have to trust my instincts.

When you’re working on something, you’re the closest person to it and you know it better than anyone. So why shouldn’t you have a say? You’re not going to get very far in publishing if you don’t have a voice.

I recently had to brief the cover for my first acquisition. I thought I had sussed out what it needed to look like, but it just wasn’t translating onto the page. It wasn’t until a few rounds of designs, and a very deflated me, that I really took charge. I did a load of research and said exactly what route we needed to go down. When the covers came in for the third time, I knew instantly which one it was and, luckily, everyone else agreed. Being bold, taking charge and owning something is the only way to do it, as scary as it seems. It also made me think, wow, I’m actually okay at this.

It’s incredibly encouraging to work in an environment where, no matter what you say, your opinion is heard. And with people who hold their hands up and admit ‘so, I know this is going to sound stupid, but…’ and say it anyway!

3) What do you look forward to as your role progresses?

I’m most looking forward to tasks taking less time and becoming second nature. Everyday I’m still learning all the things I have to do that I didn’t know about.

I can’t wait to have all the knowledge that my team around me has. When I first started, they were talking about covers and authors that I had no idea about. Now, I’m able to join in and bring my own ideas to the table. So I’m looking forward to just rolling names off my tongue and not having to say, ‘you know, that one with the rolling hills and flowers on it?’.

I’m also really excited about the editing possibilities. It’s every editor’s dream to have bestsellers and to have played a part in the book that’s on everyone’s lips. So what I’m most looking forward to is being the lead (as scary as the prospect seems) on a big hitter. The next 50 Shades. I’d happily be that person who inflicts the next big thing on the world… (sorry in advance).

4) What’s the most interesting thing you have learned about yourself as you have grown into your role?

I’ve learned that I’m actually quite strong. It’s a tough industry and a very fast paced one. You’ve got to be right for it, otherwise you’ll totally crumble.

I’ve gone through quite a few highs and lows already and, although the lows were pretty tough, and sometimes totally deflating, they’ve only helped me develop. It’s great to be at the top, flying high, but it’s the lows that you really learn from.

5) What advice do you have for current editorial assistants looking to progress into their next positions?

Be honest with your manager about what you want to do. Ask for more responsibility, ask if you can shadow an edit or two. The more you get editorially involved, the better. It’ll show that you’re eager to progress and it’ll also give you more to put on your CV (hey, if they don’t recognise your talent, someone else will!).

I learned very quickly that you’ve got to take charge of your own career and progression. If you don’t ask to do more, someone else will. So make sure you’re the person who doesn’t miss out because someone else got in there first. No one is going to run your career but you.

Rosalind Moody

Working in book publishing and magazine publishing: Rosalind Moody interview

Rosalind Moody is Editorial Assistant at Colchester-based publishing company Aceville Publications. Here Stephanie Cox interviews Rosalind about her career so far, and the differences between working in book publishing and magazine publishing,

1. Please introduce yourself and describe your background and your career.

I’m a graduate from the University of Hull and since my second year of university, I’ve completed unpaid internships at Endeavour Press, Simon & Schuster UK, Hodder and Stoughton and Just Imagine, a specialist children’s bookseller in Chelmsford. Last Christmas I was offered a job as Editorial Assistant at Colchester-based publishing company Aceville Publications who own a lot of major craft magazines, as well as other well-known titles such as Great British Food, Your Fitness and Natural Health. Make it Today is a new title I’m helping to develop but actually I’ve just been transferred to a more established magazine called Homemaker. I’m really enjoying myself and I’m constantly learning!

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Editorial Assistant

On being an Editorial Assistant [part 3]

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.

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Editorial Assistant

On being an Editorial Assistant [part 2]

Last week we interviewed Norah Myers on being an Editorial Assistant. This week she is back with some advice. Norah studied publishing in London at City University and worked for Picador and Bloomsbury before returning to Canada. She worked for a boutique literary agency before moving to an independent publisher of fiction and nonfiction. She loves yoga, books, and endless cups of tea. @bookish_norah

1. Strengthen your administrative skills

Either take a short course concerning office administration or spend some time working in an office. Be prepared to do a lot of administration; work on your efficiency and attention to detail and presentation. You have to be both fast and accurate.

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Editorial Assistant

On being an Editorial Assistant [part 1]

This is a guest post from Norah Myers. Norah studied publishing in London at City University and worked for Picador and Bloomsbury before returning to Canada. She worked for a boutique literary agency before moving to an independent publisher of fiction and nonfiction. She loves yoga, books, and endless cups of tea. @bookish_norah

1. What do you do as an editorial assistant?

I create crowd funding campaigns to help authors raise the funds needed to publish their books. I acquire new authors, read and assess incoming unsolicited manuscripts, and edit manuscripts.

2. Is it how you’d imagined it would be?

Not at all. Having worked in corporate environments previously, I imagined it would be 95% administration for at least the first year (as my previous work as a magazine editorial assistant was mostly administration). I like that I get to work with authors in a more personal manner right away.

3. What have you learned in your first month?

That more than half of my job as an editor is – and will be – managing author expectations. I manage author expectations on everything from story development to video costing to book scheduling.

4. What’s been the most enjoyable part so far?

I’ve had some great banter back and forth with a really funny British author. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know her and helping her develop both her funding campaign and each of the stories she wants to write.

5. What are you most looking forward to?

Improving my copy-editing skills, writing a full manuscript evaluation in the house style, and attending a book launch for an author whose campaign I helped design and fund

5 Questions for Amy Rosenbaum [INTERVIEW]

Amy RosenbaumIn the run up to BookMachine New York, we’re running a set of interviews with publishing professionals connected to the City, with an interesting story to tell.

Amy Rosenbaum is an Editorial Assistant at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. She is a fresh face to the industry after finishing a Publishing course at Columbia University in 2011.

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