Monday, July 11, 2011

Editorial Director

As Grace reported a few weeks ago, I was promoted to the position of Fiction Editorial Director. I've been asked by different people what this means in terms of my day-to-day job, so I thought I'd briefly outline it here.

-I am now overseeing our Middle Grade and Young Adult lists. The "Fiction" in my title is a bit misleading, as technically I would also oversee MG and YA nonfiction, but as we publish very little nonfiction at Little, Brown in general, we thought it was cleaner to just say "Fiction". This means running the novel portion of editorial meeting, approving which projects go to our acquisitions meetings, and then giving my recommendation at that meeting. Overall, I'm tasked to help shape our fiction list in terms of balance of titles (literary vs commercial, MG vs YA, making sure the books we sign up don't compete directly with each other in terms of subject matter, etc.).

-I will still be editing picture books (I couldn't give that up!), but my focus will be on MG and YA.

-Instead of just one person (my assistant) reporting to me, I have three other editors as direct reports. This means approving more paperwork (expense reports, contract requests, etc.), reviewing copy and P&Ls, etc., more annual performance reviews, responding to MG/YA-related requests/questions/emails, and so on.

-In general, I have more meetings, including attending jacket meeting in its entirety (rather than just for my individual titles), list planning meetings, and weekly updates with each editor.

-Because of my increased administrative duties, I may eventually have to tighten my own title list, and potentially acquire fewer books. I haven't passed any of my books on to other editors yet (I love all my books, so it's hard to give any up!), but I may in the near future. I do want to say that when deciding which projects to pass on, I'm mainly looking at which books are a good fit taste-wise with another editor, and which projects I feel another editor could manage as well or better than myself, especially considering my own increased workload.

I'm excited about the challenges of the new position, but I will say that I never really had this job as a career goal (and those of you who know me know how much I love goal setting!). There are some editors who want to be publisher some day. I've never been one of them. To be perfectly honest, I would have been happy being at the Executive Editor level for a long time--maybe for the rest of my publishing career, because the editing part of my job has always been my favorite. But at the same time, when this opportunity presented itself, I weighed my options, and it felt like a good move for me, a job where I could still do the editing I love, but also learn the business side a little more, to mentor more, and to help shape a list.

We'll see what this new position will bring!


storyqueen said...

You have such an incredible vision, in picture books, mg and ya. No wonder Little Brown wants you to help shape the list.

Loved Children Make Terrible Pets and cannot wait for Daughter of Smoke and Bone.



Melissa S. said...

I was thrilled to see all your hard work rewarded with this opportunity. Very well deserved, my friend.

Naomi Canale said...

Ditto to what the Storyqueen said. You do have an incredible vision! And I'm so glad you posted this, you've laid my curiosity to rest.

June G said...

Wising you the best in your newest endeavor. It was a pleasure meeting you at Jennifer DeChiara's Editor Night.

Eveline said...

Congratulations, Al!!!

Amanda said...

Sounds like a great opportunity, and an interesting position.