A Writer’s Day Job

I graduated from my undergraduate degree in May, graduated from the NYU Summer Publishing Institute in July, and got my first grown-up job in August.  I am now an Assistant Editor at Transaction Publishers, this wonderful, scrappy independent academic press that publishes social science books in Piscataway, NJ.  I am so happy here.

Everyone keeps asking me what exactly I do all day, though, and I thought it might be of interest to those of you trying to get into publishing and into an editorial department, specifically.

I come in the office at 9 am and I immediately check my email and respond to authors questions, read over any new material they’ve sent me, and send out a slew of emails requesting information and checking on the status of different things.  I’m in charge of about twenty books that will be published in the Spring and Summer of 2012.  Some are brand new books and some are reprints; hardcover books we’re making into paperbacks, or old books with new introductions.  I’m in charge of applying to the Library of Congress for ISBN approval, estimating a manuscript’s page count, and filling out P&L’s (a marketing sheet that determines how much a book will cost, what some of its comp titles are, etc.)  I do a lot of copy editing–not of the manuscripts, but of the season catalogues–scanning, and photocopying.  We have a couple meetings a week: an editorial meeting to make sure everything is on schedule; a production meeting with a similar goal; and cover meetings.  For cover meetings I read some of each manuscript I’m in charge of, brainstorm cover design ideas, and pitch them to the book designers in the production department.  There’s lots of other prep work involved for cover meetings, but helping with the design is my favorite part.

So that’s my day job.  What kind of day jobs do all you writers keep?


Published by hannahkarena

author & book publishing person.

2 thoughts on “A Writer’s Day Job

    1. Ah! Just saw this comment–it slipped by me. Crumbs, that stinks. I hope you found a better job…or are really enjoying the ample lengths of additional writing time!


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