A Day in the life of An Editor

A Day in the life of A Presents Editor

Pippa Roscoe lifts the lid on a day in the life of an Editor at Romance HQ!!

by Editorial Assistant Pippa Roscoe

I’m a bit of an early bird and will arrive in the office at 8.20. It’s my favourite time of the day, when the office is still fairly quiet and I can go through emails before everyone arrives and more importantly indulge in my first addiction of the day; coffee. And then my second… Compulsive list making! I’ll add any new tasks from the morning’s email to last night’s ‘to do’ list. This could be anything from author requests for their covers, lovely manuscripts arriving for reading and meeting requests.

This is also the time that I get to respond to authors and have a bit of an email catch up. There’s usually at least one American author who is still up and about to have a quick gossip over who is our favourite tv hero of the moment!

It’s 9.30 and there are some meetings that will happen each month and today it’s titling. I love this part. The editor of each book for that month will send over suggestions, including any thoughts that the author might have. As a team we get together and brainstorm all eight titles together, along with the names of any miniseries that the individual titles may belong too.

Sometimes the titles can roll right off the tongue and flow right onto the covers and sometimes they can be a little tricksy. But these tricky ones often result in some of the best, and certainly my favourite, titles. They can also be some of the funniest meetings ever that can deliver various song titles and lines throughout the office for all to enjoy! Joanne and Laura like to keep me going with jelly babies. Sugar highs aside… It’s one of the best parts of my job.

This meeting takes about an hour and a half, and now it’s time for tea! (And perhaps a sneak peak at the treat shelf? Although this close after Christmas it’s full of healthy things rather than delicious chocolate treats sadly. L)

Back at my desk there are a few more emails to answer – some are queries from authors, some from colleagues checking on the delivery status of my author’s manuscripts, and some checking on Presents deadlines. With so many dates, you’ll not be surprised to hear that my walls are covered in schedules!

11.30 With a little time before lunch, I start a first read on a full manuscript from one of Harlequin’s fabulous authors. It’s a Historical and this is one of the things I love about my job… You could cut me in half and I have Presents written through me! But being able to work with authors across the different series is so much fun and offers so much variety! I’ll try to spend the afternoon reading this, but know that it will be interspersed with a few tea breaks and emails, so before I start reading, I just need to respond to the email demanding to know what I thought about Sherlock.

(It’s a short email, but to the point. ‘AMAZING’)

I’ve barely blinked and it’s 13.00. I’ve started the New Year as I’m hoping to continue by bringing my own lunch with me, but I also know that it’s important to get out of the office and take a walk. I’ve worked in many places in London and non are as pretty as Richmond, so I try to go down to the river even just for five minutes.

Back from lunch and North America are awake and calling! There are this month’s covers to proof read, approve and return – it’s so exciting to see all the beautiful covers with the back cover copies finalised. There are two extracts for me to source for the marketing department which will be used for promotional material. These I fire off before getting back to the first read.

It’s an absolute delight! Fun, racy, full of humour and has some incredibly powerful conflicts for the hero and heroine. I don’t quite manage to finish the manuscript before the end of the day, but so far it’s brilliant. I’ll collate my notes and after finishing it tomorrow, I’ll put a letter together to send to the author. This goes on my end of day list!

As the end of the day comes round, I will clear my desk and make sure that my list is the first thing I can see in the morning. If it’s a Tuesday or Thursday, I’ll head to my martial arts class, and if not, I’ll go home and go straight to the kitchen. I love cooking and it’s the perfect way to finish the day.

A glass of wine will see me through the evening’s trashy tv delight (typically Revenge, Alcatraz or Made in Chelsea) and with my early morning start, I’ll be in bed by 10.30.

So Ladies, now that I’ve lifted the lid on a day in the life, was there any part of my job, or the world at Romance HQ that you wanted to hear more about?

Related Posts
Comments ( 17 )
  1. Maisey Yates
    January 22, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Hi Pippa, I’m so fascinated by everything that goes into this business I love so much, and these books I love so much. You know I intend to get a good look at how an editor’s day goes when I visit in February! Can’t wait!

  2. Pippa Roscoe
    January 22, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Hi Maisey,
    You can be sure that we can’t wait to see you either! We might even allow you a sneak peak at the library!!

  3. MarcieR
    January 22, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    How many emails do you get in a day – approximately? And do they ALL have to be answered the same day you get it?

    When titling – who keeps track to make sure a title isn’t similar to one used a couple months ago?

  4. Melanie Milburne
    January 22, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Goodness, Pippa, and I thought I was busy! You and the team at HMB are amazing to get through all the stuff you do, especially with us authors bombarding you with questions and panics over deadlines etc. Thanks for putting such a wonderful effort into our books. Writing really is a collaborative process and it’s a shame editors don’t get the praise they thoroughly deserve.
    (Waving at you, Flo Nicoll! )

  5. Michelle Smart
    January 22, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Can I come and sit in one of the titling meetings? Can I? Please? Pretty please with a cherry on the top? As you know, I’m sooooo good at dreaming up titles. Honest.

  6. Dianne Moggy
    January 22, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    First, Maisey when you’re in Richmond in February, Pippa really does know where to go for good coffee! I have a charming and very detailed map to prove it. Second, I got somewhat fascinated by Marcie’s question regarding number of emails, so I took a minute to count the ones I’ve received today. There are 76 still in my inbox and this doesn’t include the ones that I’ve actually deleted. Melanie’s right that our editors deserve more praise–they all love the genre and they put their own hearts into ensuring that our authors’ books are nurtured and supported before they’re released to your fans. And finally, I sense a revenue-generating opportunity–we can auction off opportunities to join the team in titling meetings!

  7. Sharon Kendrick
    January 22, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Lovely account, Pippa. You really completed the circle between writing the books and the gorgeous end product. Editors and writers – we go together like peaches and cream!

    Next time you post, please include a photo of the river at Richmond cos it’s just soooo beautiful

  8. Maisey Yates
    January 22, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Our editors are the unsung heroes. 🙂 I love them to pieces!!

    Dianne, that’s good to know since I exist on coffee! I do trust Pippa with my caffeine habit.

    Pippa, sneak me in ALL the good places!!!

  9. Pippa Roscoe
    January 23, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Hi Marcie,
    Oooh, how many emails. That’s a good question. It can be anything from 40 to well over one hundred. Today I received 106. (I counted!) Though I do have to hold my hand up and admit that at least a few of those were about some rather delicious cakes on the treat shelf!
    They don’t all have to be answered the same day, though I will always try my absolute best to get back to any author within 24 hours.
    When we title, we have the schedule of the entire year in front of us, so we are very careful not to double up on similarities and we’ll always make sure that a title has never been used before!

  10. Pippa Roscoe
    January 23, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Hi Melanie,
    We LOVE hearing from the authors, even if it is with deadline queries! And I will very graciously accept your very kind praise and thanks on behalf of the HMB team. Everyone here loves what they do and we couldn’t do it without such fab authors and such dedicated readers.


  11. Pippa Roscoe
    January 23, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Michelle – I’m going to be expecting a list of at least 10 possible titles for your next book!

  12. Pippa Roscoe
    January 23, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Dianne, I’d be happy to be auctioned off with a promise of a coffee house tour of Richmond before heading to Romance HQ for a full day of titling meetings, Art Briefings and more!!

  13. Pippa Roscoe
    January 23, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Sharon, I’ll make sure that I get a fantastic picture of the river at Richmond for the next post. If the weather is nice (nicer than it was today) then I’ll be there tomorrow! It’s wonderful to be able to tell everyone about the best job in the world! And as I said, working with such talented and wonderful writers is definitely at the top of my list!

  14. Joanne Grant
    January 24, 2014 at 4:21 am

    Thanks for all the great comments to Pippa’s fab account of what editors get up to! I am sure we can follow up later in the year with more insights into working Romance HQ.

    Maisey – we look forward to seeing you in February!

    Now off to read through those emails that have come in over night before going in to a titling brainstorm!

  15. Jennifer Hayward
    January 24, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Fascinating Pippa! And Michelle you stole my line! I want to come to a titling meeting. Please, please. Dianne I think you could auction it off! 🙂

  16. MarcieR
    January 25, 2014 at 10:20 am

    That’s a lot of emails!

    Thanks for chiming in Dianne.

    Pippa – thanks for the ‘slice’ of life for an editor. I think the cake emails would be a welcome diversion!

    As for the titling auction – not pubbed (yet) but I would love to sit in!

    Heck, I’d follow an editor around for a day like a puppy and go get coffee and cake….

  17. Caitlin Crews
    January 31, 2014 at 10:43 am

    I’m late to this conversation–but wow! Editors are SO busy! I love seeing behind the editorial curtain!