Originally sent to the Listener Insider Mailing List on July 7, 2016.
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Answers for Authors
Vance, how the hell does a Managing Editor keep all the little ducks in a row?
I took this one to my Managing Editor Diane, who has experience at both a large and a small press. Here’s what she had to say:
“WHAT? Are you TRYING to hurt my head? Okay… here goes…
- Knowledge of all of the processes.
- Checklists for each component. For example, we have a checklist of things to look for when going over printer’s proofs, a checklist of actions for distribution, etc.
- Keep the current season’s books first in your head, then the season after that, then the season after that. Based on this, set the day’s priority task.
- You must possess a deep-seated love of classifying and organizing.
As for tools:
- The checklists are quickly-updateable Word docs on our shared drive.
MS Word is still the version control workhorse as far as manuscript edits are concerned, but once a book is typeset we work in Acrobat using the Comment feature.
- As for managing a book’s life, we build each title as a standalone project in MS Project, and use that to track the dates for each micro-task under acquisitions, editing, production, and distribution… with a healthy dose of marketing tasks throughout.”
(If there’s interest in me giving an MS Project How-to tutorial video with book production as the specific focus – let me know!)
Until then… WRITE ON!
If YOU have a question you want answered from inside the biz, send it my way and I’ll pose it to the professionals!