A Day in the Life of an Editorial Assistant (Part 2)

So, you’ve heard a bit about the nitty-gritty part of being an editorial assistant, but how about the fun stuff? Today, Editorial Assistant Becca Langton shares a bit about her favourite special projects.

Becca LangtonHello there! Today I give you an insight into the more exciting aspects of assistant-ing. Where you get to watch really special projects grow from an idea into a fully fledged publishing adventure – and sometimes help! I hope you enjoy!

Again, if you have questions for Becca about being an Editorial Assistant, leave them in the comments below.

16 responses to “A Day in the Life of an Editorial Assistant (Part 2)

  1. Thank you Becca! Very informative :)

  2. It’s great to see Becca’s enthusiasm, but I feel that it’s really important that people understand that Hot Key, though a small publisher, is a part of Bonnier UK, which is part of an international publishing giant, and not a “little indie”. There are many companies – Nosy Crow is one – that are genuinely and proudly independent, and it’s misleading to represent Hot Key as such.

    • beccawearsredwellies

      True — we’re lucky enough to be in a position where though we are backed by a large company, we’re allowed to get on with our publishing as we want. We’ve got the ability to pursue projects and opportunities that many traditional companies wouldn’t.

  3. Of course, I have no insight into how Hot Key reports up to Bonnier. In fact, I actually think lots of children’s book imprints within conglomerates have considerable freedom – I certainly did when I ran Macmillan Children’s Books. But “independent” has a very specific meaning in relation to ownership structures, and that was the point I was making.

  4. And, of course, we admire what you do!

  5. Becca, I’m going to assume that was all filmed in one day and you are just brilliant in your wardrobe chages. Ha.

    I do have a question: When you guys do that living book thing, do you, as the publisher give some direction to the author? What a brave undertaking for Ms. Hitchcock.

    • Hi Gaby – I read everything the children send me overnight on a Wednesday – and sleep lets the best ideas percolate to the top. I have the faintest of ideas about where the story will go, but so far, it’s been taken to places I hadn’t even thought of. In a sense all I do is make a frame for their ideas – to incorporate as many as possible. Sara then casts the eye of reason over the chapter, but we have very little time to change things. It’s a little like taking exams without revision – and I was always quite good at that. I don’t like to dwell too long – I think sometimes you lose the energy – and this project is all about energy.
      It’s brave, but it’s also fun – and Becca and Sara and Amy + others at the HKB HQ have worked just as hard as me to make it work.

      • Hi Becca & Fleur, thank you for replying. I am making a reminder to myself to come back and get a copy of that book when it’s done and for sale. I think it would be quite interesting to see how it all comes together.

    • beccawearsredwellies

      Well we do have a great hair and wardrobe department! The Story Adventure is quite unique but really it is absolutely Fleur’s story. The editor of the project, Sara, doesn’t give Fleur any more editorial advice than for a normal story – it’s just happening concurrently with the writing! Fleur has a plot and a good idea of what will happen in each chapter, but if a good idea comes along from one of the kids then that could definitely change things! It’s a very ‘organic’ way to write a book – and I can’t wait to see how things turn out!

  6. This is so interesting! Sounds like you need some editorial assistant binding gloves. :) My question is: if you could choose any famous author, living or dead, to do the next story adventure, who would you choose?

    • beccawearsredwellies

      What a good question!! And one that is totally impossible to answer…the first name that springs to mind is Lemony Snickett because I think he would have a brilliant time incorporating all the different ideas and making something really individual. But actually I think my answer would be Roald Dahl because he obviously took such joy in how weird and original kids are and I think a collaborative effort would be insane. In many ways you can see hints of Dahl’s books coming through with this project, especially with the weird pets and crazy confectionery! What about you? I feel like there are so many potential candidates it’s impossible to choose!

      • I think both Lemony Snicket and Roald Dahl would be amazing! I’d probably say Neil Gaiman (considering his personal pride in eccentricity, as well as his quirky children’s books) or C.S. Lewis, because of the absolute magic that he grants to everyday things. If only, right? :)

  7. beccawearsredwellies

    Yes but with Lewis you would be contending with a strong desire to underlay everything with religious allegory. At least with Dahl and Gaiman you could go anywhere without veering off course… but he does do magic well. Maybe an Enid Blyton Mallory Towers version? That would be pretty much every one of my childhood wishes come true I think…

    • True! hmmm… I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never read a single one of those books! I had too google them. BUT they look fabulous, and I’ll have to get my hands on them. I think Gaiman could be wrangled into doing it… just putting that out into the universe!

  8. What’s the most important thing perspective authors need to remember before they submit to HKB? Are there common mistakes you see in some submissions? Advice, advice, advice, pleeeeease :)

    • Hi Gaby (I’m jumping in here, as I’ve just spotted your comment!) – some of the most common mistakes we see are simple spelling and grammar ones. Obviously we would forgive a few typos, but having those kind of mistakes the whole way through a manuscript (or worse, in your covering letter/email) just makes it look like the person hasn’t cared enough about the submission to bother checking it over before sending it off. That can be kind of annoying! The other thing is when people don’t read our submissions guidelines (HERE: https://www.hotkeybooks.com/about) – I really need a synopsis, y’all!

      But the main thing to bear in mind is just take your time, make your story as perfect as it can be and then just go for it!

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