Job Title: Executive Editor
Education: MA in Literature, University of Madison
Previous Experience: i worked as a proofreader for two years, then returned to grad school. After I left, I moved to Boston and found an entry-level job at a college textbook publisher.
Job Tasks: I work for a college textbook publisher. We publish in the humanities, and the editors and publishers spend a lot of time at conferences and on campus.
I started in production, then moved to editorial and went up the ranks there. then I shifted to new media, where I found it really fascinating to apply what I knew about print texts and worked on re-imagining it for the online environment. Now I think about how to best describe and sell our new media in a market that is slowly shifting.
A typical day for me involves a lot of project management of small projects and meetings, unfortunately, but it's usually interesting to learn what's happening in education and in the disciplines we publish for. Today, for example, I sat in catalog copy meetings for four hours and heard what all the different titles are thinking about as they prepare to sell a new list. And then I prepared some emails that are going out describing some of our important titles for this year. and then the icing on the cake: I spent an hour talking to a small group about a vision for a new e-newsletter.
Everything's an acronym in publishing! It's a career that rewards the entry-level; the people who have done best start from the ground up. College publishing, as they say, is not a career that people grow up wanting to do. But it is definitely always engaging, always interesting. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in ideas, in words, and in helping students do what they do better!
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best parts: I get to set my own schedule and priority list most of the time, it's a great office environment, the people are funny and creative and interesting to talk to (about work and non work stuff alike)
Worst parts: Working 9-5 is always hard, especially if you have children. it is not the most flexible of schedules, and I have to travel a fair amount.
1. Know your office software: Word, Powerpoint, and Excel.
2. Check the details: Know your proofreading marks, understand that the details matter, and check everything twice
3. Research the culture and the company. It doesn't hurt to dress the part or to make sure that you can drop details about important titles on the list or important conferences to the discipline you feel closest.
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