TOR TOUR: THE EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

09 April 2013

By Louise Buckley

baby-dragon1

As part of the Tor Tour, I’m going to explain a bit about my role – that of ‘Editorial Assistant’. Most of you may be able to surmise from my title that I assist with the editorial side of things here at Tor UK, which means that I assist Editorial Director, Julie Crisp, and Senior Commissioning Editor, Bella Pagan. I also assist another non-genre Editor too, who commissions women's fiction and crime and thrillers.

My role is really two-fold. First of all there's the editorial side (the fun bit). As I get to assist with every manuscript, from acquisition, right through to post-publication, I also get a say in most aspects of that novel’s publication. I can assist with the edit, advising Julie and Bella on which scenes I feel need to be shortened or which characters need to be fleshed out more. I get to write some of the jacket cover copy, or brainstorm book titles or come up with ideas for blog pieces promoting that author on our blog here. I also have a say in the overall look of the cover; is the font big enough, does the blurb read out clearly against the background picture... does that doll look evil enough?!

stackofpapersThe other side of my job – the side that Julie and Bella have less to do with – is the administrative side. I make sure that the correct information for each book feeds out to all of our retailers. I collate reviews from bloggers and our publicity team. I organise strategy meetings, write minutes, print contracts, create presentations, send out books, update our Pinterest, seek permissions, and undertake a whole lot of filing, photocopying, scanning and other minutiae that goes with the job. This is good too, because it means I get to learn the basics of being an editor, from which rights tend to be sold where, to how to develop an author brand and which books our International Sales team feel are likely to sell well in which countries.

The best bit of the job is working directly with the authors. Whether that is reading their novel for the first time on submission, brainstorming cover ideas or even interviewing them for our blog, I get to work with some amazing people on some fantastic fiction, whilst sitting at my desk. I can be reading a story about someone racing through space, chasing an evil time-lord whilst his wicked witch-werewolf hybrid of a sister is trying to cast a spell on him that turns him into a midget with a penchant for eating baby dragons, yet looking at me, you’d never know.

I also get to go to the publication events and conventions… okay, it’s not all champagne and Hobbit outfits, but those certainly feature every now and then and are great fun. I'm very lucky in that I get to meet many amazing people working in the industry, from agents, to journalists, to super-fans, to the authors themselves. This is what makes the job so exciting.

teamtorxmasparty13Typical things I say as an assistant:

I think the fiery-red rather than the burnt-red looks better on the cover.

I’m drowning in paper.

Where is the section on royalties in this twenty-five page contract?

I’d say the curlicues on the Byzantium-style map work best.

I just feel that the character would work better if she was a zombie.

I've eaten too much cake.

* * * * *

The Tor Tour is part of a series of regular posts covering the varied publishing roles within the Tor imprint and across Pan Macmillan as a whole. These are the posts so far:

INTRODUCING TEAM TOR by Tor UK Editorial Director Julie Crisp
TOR TOUR: NOT JUST EDITING by Tor UK Editorial Director Julie Crisp 
TOR TOUR: A PUBLICITY DEPARTMENT EXPOSÉ by Publicity Manager Sophie Portas 
TOR TOUR: COMMISSIONING & SOCIAL MEDIA by Senior Commissioning Editor Bella Pagan
TOR TOUR: THE MARKETOR by Senior Marketing Manager Rob Cox
TOR TOUR: THE EDITORIAL ASSISTANT by Editorial Assistant Louise Buckley
TOR TOUR: PRODUCTION CONTROLLER by Production Controller Holly Sheldrake
TOR TOUR: THE DIGITAL ZONE by Analytics Director, James Long
TOR TOUR: THE RIGHTS DEPARTMENT by Rights Assistant, Kerry Lagan
TOR TOUR: HEAD OF WEB DEVELOPMENT by our digital department's James Luscombe 
TOR TOUR: THE AUDIO BOOK DEPARTMENT EXPLAINED by Audio manager Becky Lloyd