I spent last week (all three days of my work week) setting up the freelance editorial process, and contacting candidates for both the editor and copy editor position. I also explored the possibility of hiring some advance readers to help go through the slush pile, so we can start cycling through some of the submissions a little more quickly and getting manuscripts to editors for more thorough reads.
Hiring editors is kind of an adventure, because it takes a unique person to work, not just in editing, but in freelance and digital editing. For one thing, editors aren’t working in an office environment, so they have to be self-motivated and self-disciplined in order to meet deadlines. For another, reading submissions for digital publishing is a bit different, you can expand what you’re able to contract and publish, because the barriers presented by the traditional publishing model have been removed.
I was chatting earlier this week with someone who was thinking of expanding their business into digital publishing and they asked me, “A romance is a romance, right? So there’s no difference in the editorial.” Well, true, to a degree.
But once you’ve trained your brain (or your editing staff) to be on the lookout for one type of thing, within very specific parameters, it takes conscious effort to expand those boundaries and be more inclusive. So it helps if you can have one or two people who already think digital, with the broader parameters, to help catch something another might not.
The other reason hiring editors is an adventure is because quality control (of the books) is so very important. And judging a person’s editorial skills and quirks from a resume or email is so very hard. So very, very hard. All of that combines to make hiring editors an adventure. But what is life without adventures, right?
Also this week I got to sit in on my very first Harlequin employee meeting (via phone). It’s a meeting that brings the Toronto and New York offices (and me here in Maryland) together via videoconference (sadly I didn’t get the video part) to hear what’s going on in the world of Harlequin. You know what was clear to me from that meeting, even over the phone? The people at Harlequin, from top to bottom, are enthusiastic about their jobs, the books, the authors and the work other employees are doing. It was very cool.
On tap for this week: Editor and copy editor hiring process continues; I take my passport out of the drawer and head to Toronto and the Harlequin offices for two days! This will be my second trip to the offices, but I’m going to treat it as my first and take both my camera and my Flip video so I can take some shots to share with all of you. Harlequin Toronto employees, please consider this your warning that you might find yourself on camera Wednesday and Thursday!
(and for those wondering, yes I did go shopping on Black Friday. All day. It was a blast!)