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A Peek at an Editor's To-Do List
A little over a year ago, I wrote a post titled A Day in the Life of a Children's Book Editor. The post was a glimpse into one day of my life and illustrated many of the non-reading and editing tasks and editor has to do on a daily basis.
Today, I'm going to share a peek at my to-do list. I live and die by my to-do list in my planner. Over the years, I've used several different calendars and planners, but about three years ago I discovered a planner that combined my calendar and my to-do list into the one book. Each spread has the calendar for the week on the left-hand side and a blank notebook page on the right. I keep track of all of my deadlines and due dates in the calendar and my to-do list on the notebook page.
Here is a photo from the Moleskin website.
The planner is a key part of maintaining my to-do list. I also flag important emails to read and respond to in Outlook and check in that folder several times a day.
Now to the fun part. My current to-do list! My actual to-do list is literally a list of EVERYTHING I have to complete. If something comes up in a meeting, it gets added to the bottom of the list. For the sake of this post, I'm going to break it up into sections. Additionally, I'm being ambiguous with titles to give a generic idea of how my to-do list tends to look from day to day.
Part of my job includes editing movie and television tie-in publishing programs.
Send a manuscript to a licensor for comments and approval.
Send an interior of a book to a licensor for approval
Send an updated publishing schedule to a licensor.
Listen to audio recordings of a narrator for one of the licenses I oversee and give feedback. We're currently recording audio for all of the books in this licenses's publishing program.
Everything on this part of my to-do list should be completed today.
Reread revision of the third book in a chapter book series and send editss to author.
Send comments on the outline for the fourth book in the previously mentioned chapter book series to author
Read first draft of the ninth book in a middle grade series
Read first draft of the sixth book in a middle grade series
Read outline and send comments the outline for the first book in a new middle grade series.
When editing manuscripts, I do a cold read first pass where I only write down my instant responses. Then I go back and reread the manuscript to make more substantial comments before writing my edit letter. I do this for every pass of the manuscript stage. Today, I am planning to complete the first item on this list.
Cover copy/Sales Copy
I have cover copy to write for three different books at the moment. In addition to the cover copy, I also write sales copy to appear on the sales materials that will go out to booksellers. (Sales materials tend to be the full cover with information about the book and author printed on the back.)
I have to set up a meeting with one of the designers to discuss the cover concept and art suggestions for the fifth book in one of the series I edit. Before setting up the meeting, I need to come up with preliminary ideas for the cover and art.
I currently have three different types of submissions I am reading.
We are currently running a contest to find a writer for a new license and I am part of the group of editors reading the submissions. I try to read at least one submission for the contest (10,000 words) every other day. Agented submissions I try to read over weekends. I recently took part in the Rutgers One-on-One Conference and submissions from attendees have started to trickle in to me.
There you have it! My current to-do list!
Keep in mind, each day is filled with incoming emails, meetings, and interior and cover edits, that take me away from crossing items off of my list. Some days I am able to cross off multiple items, others I don't cross off a single item.
Coincidentally, today is my five year anniversary at Grosset & Dunlap/Price Stern Sloan (Penguin Young Readers)! My to-do list has changed a lot over the years, but I wouldn't change a thing.