Job Title: Senior Managing Editor
Type of Company: Publisher of books for higher education and over 1800 professional journals.
Education: BA, Marymount College
Previous Experience: I began as a part-time proofreader, became a copy editor, the Production Director, then the Group Managing Editor and eventually the Editorial Director of a small family-owned medical publishing company in Connecticut. The owner sold the company to the second largest medical publisher in the world and our small division was dissolved. But I was retained as a Senior Managing Editor for the titles that were absorbed by the acquiring company.
Job Tasks: An editor's job encompasses the following tasks: interaction with the Editor-in-Chief and his editorial board; soliciting manuscripts from leading experts in the fields his journals cover; reviewing articles that are submitted on a daily basis; making sure that the articles have been vetted by a minimum of two members of the journal's Editorial Board to ensure that the data they contain is accurate and the science is relevant; oversight of the production of the articles for print, which includes proofing the articles for errors on the part of the typesetter and/or copy editor; final assembly of the articles for a full issue of the journal and meeting monthly publication deadlines.
In addition, an editor is responsible for monitoring the financial health of the journal, assisting the ad sales people in their search for advertising support, and the reprint sales force who attempt to sell copies of articles to the drug companies for their use in promoting their products.
A typical day will include time spent proofreading galleys, time in meetings with sales, circulation, and marketing teams to plan campaigns for the journals, time spent searching the Web for important developments in the medical specialty fields which our journals cover and time spent interacting with the Editor-in-Chief and our physician authors. I work as part of a team, and part of every day involves responding to e-mails from team members and authors.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best part of the job: the independence to make decisions on the priorities for accomplishing the daily tasks and the creativity to analyze problem areas in the journal and resolve them. Example: falling revenues at one of our journals led me to hire new Editors-in-Chief, invigorate its editorial board with new members and begin new department columns to bolster ongoing interest among our readers.
The worst part of the job: I telecommute from my home as a result of the dissolution of my division following the sale of the company. Telecommuting results in isolation, and a great deal of travel time for corporate meetings.
Additional Thoughts: Many people expect that a Senior Editor in medical publishing is a doctor or science major; this is not necessary for the position. A good editor has to learn the specifics of the field on which his journal concentrates, but he doesn't need to be a doctor to recognize the opinion leaders in the specialty field, or to recognize an excellent research article that will excite the readership. The ability to perform these tasks can be gained at the entry level proofing articles and absorbing the terminology used by doctors and medical researchers. Conversations with potential authors at medical conventions and attendance at some of the presentations given there can educate an editor sufficiently on the specialty field. And last, but definitely not least, NEVER underestimate the power of a smile!
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