A Week in the Life of the Editorial Department

In today’s post our editorial director, Anna Roderick, gives us an insight into her job as our Editorial Director.

Anna - our Editorial Director
Anna – our Editorial Director

I’ve opted to describe a “week in the life” rather than a “day in the life” as there isn’t really a typical day in the editorial department. A large part of any day is spent responding to emails (and the occasional letter!) and so what I do is largely dictated by what arrives in my inbox. This can be anything from tentative enquiries about a new proposal, a reviewer submitting a report on a manuscript, an author checking something before submitting their manuscript, or a series editor suggesting I offer someone a contract. We’re very proud of our relationships with authors and series editors here at Channel View, and so it’s vital to us that we get this bit right, even though when I say I spend a large part of my time answering emails it doesn’t sound that important or exciting!

About once a week we have an editorial meeting, where we discuss new proposals, as well as titles, prices and print runs for books about to go into production. So another chunk of my time every week is spent preparing proposals for the meeting: reading through proposals and doing any necessary research, and working out how many copies I think we can sell and for what price (and if the figures don’t add up but I want to publish the book anyway, working out how I can persuade my colleagues that the figures don’t matter).

One of the nice things about working in a small team is that as commissioning editor I can get involved in all stages of a book, from proposal to publication (and beyond!). Therefore some time every week is spent looking at sales figures with Tommi and discussing how they affect our commissioning in the future, or thinking about additional content in ebooks with Sarah, or writing book blurbs with Ellie and Laura. I really like the continuity of having talked to an author about a vague idea for a book before they’ve even got as far as a proposal, and still being involved with the book several years after it has been published.

Anna celebrating 10 years working at Multilingual Matters
Anna celebrating 10 years working at Multilingual Matters

Until I went on maternity leave just over a year ago, I spent a lot of time ‘on the road’, attending conferences and visiting universities around the world. I’ve had to delegate this part of my job to my very capable colleagues for the time being, but getting out and about and meeting new and existing authors is one of the most essential (and interesting) parts of my job and I’ll be getting back to it as soon as I can.

And then there are the intangible parts of my job: I read around the subjects we publish in, I spend time looking at our lists and making sure they represent the priorities of the academic communities we serve, I keep an eye on what our fellow publishers are up to and much more.

With my editorial director hat on, I spend time every week looking even further into the future, and trying to work out what we should be publishing in 2, 5 or 10 years’ time. My aim is to make sure that we continue to publish innovative and important books in the subject areas we’re already active in, as well as providing the very best service we can for our authors, reviewers and series editors. And while doing that I’m always on the lookout for exciting new publishing opportunities, whatever they may be…

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