Day in the Life (Remote): Celina Sun
Editorial Assistant, Quill Tree Books
Day: October 1, 2021
Wake up: Unfortunately, I’m not a morning person, but the promise of a yummy breakfast helps soften the blow of having to get out of bed. On today’s menu: a toasted red bean bun and a warm glass of milk. I get ready for the day and take a quick peek at my work email to see if there are any tasks I should add to my to-do list.
9:00 am: The workday begins! I wish my managers a good morning and share my to-dos in our Teams group chat. The second pass pages of a magical fantasy adventure middle grade have come in for review, plus I have an Advances Tracking email to follow up on, and Winter 2023 jacket summary forms are due. There are also a few subs I’m hoping to tackle, but depending on how busy my inbox is, these plans might stay aspirational. Lucky for me, my one virtual meeting of the day is moved to next week.
9:30 am: After going through my new emails more thoroughly, I get some of the easier action items out of the way. I add a lovely pull quote for a recently published picture book to our system so that it’ll feed out to retailers’ websites, and I route a fully approved contract request form (CRF) for a fantastical middle grade graphic novel to managing editorial.
10:00 am: I’ve been working from my couch, but I move over to my desk because I need the combined power of my laptop and desktop monitor to review second pass pages more efficiently. I pull up the project’s first pass PDF and make sure all the changes noted by man. ed., the proofreader, and the authors have been made in the second pass. I also weigh in on man. ed.’s new queries and flag some of the more complex questions for my manager to review. The process is a bit slow going, but it’s a fun Friday task that I can do while bopping to my Spotify playlist.
10:30 am: One of my managers lets me know that we’ve closed the deal on a VERY exciting middle grade nonfiction project and asks me to start the contract paperwork for it. I plan to prioritize this after I finish reviewing the second pass pages.
12:00 pm: I’m just about done when second pass pages for another title come in. I see the turnaround time is a bit tight, so I decide to look this over too, as my manager will need time to review both. The new pass pages are for a YA high fantasy paperback—not a frontlist title like what I was working on before—so there are fewer queries. I switch to my instrumental playlist for focus, hunker down, and get both pass pages off to my manager.
1:00 pm: Before I break for lunch, I follow up on the morning’s Advances Tracking email. At the beginning of every month, we get summaries of which advances payments are due to authors and illustrators. These can range from on delivery and acceptance of final art or final manuscript payments to on publication payments. We’re supposed to send updates to Finance on when we can expect such payments to be made, so I email Design to see where we are with the final cover and interior art for some chapter books and picture books on my manager’s list.
2:00 pm: I start looking over the email chain my manager sent me of her negotiations for the middle grade nonfiction project. It’s a complex project, so the email chain is a bit of a doozy, but the enthusiasm on both sides is palpable, and I love seeing how the negotiations evolve. I start filling out the CRF based on the agreed-upon terms, and I also work on the title’s acquisitions form, which covers its price, format, page count, trim size, on-sale date, BISACs, and other metadata.
2:30 pm: An email comes in from my other manager with a few edits to the jacket summary forms I’d completed earlier in the week. Each season, we fill out these forms for our frontlist titles, providing Design with character descriptions and ideas that the author has for the cover, among other information, so that they can start working on the book jackets. I make the asked-for changes and check in with my other manager to make sure she doesn’t have any additional edits to her forms before uploading all the files to Design’s SharePoint folder.
3:15 pm: I’m back to working on contract paperwork when my manager updates me with her thoughts on some of the submissions I’ve read recently. It’s exciting to hear that we might be moving forward with a few!
3:45 pm: I send my manager some follow-up questions about the contract paperwork and make edits according to her comments before preparing the CRF for her to sign. We also discuss my to-dos for Monday, which include routing the project’s revised P&L for signing.
4:00 pm: The day’s coming to a close, and I reply to some emails that have come in, including an update from Design about final picture book art. My other manager had sent me an email about a new project we’re taking to Acquisitions, so I put that on the meeting agenda and do some digging to find a comp that I think will work for the project.
4:30 pm: I usually try to bookend my days with submissions reading, but this Friday has been a bit busier than usual! I touch base with my manager about a sub I’d finished the day before and promise a more thorough report on Monday.
5:00 pm: The weekend is here! There is a new Great British Bake Off episode with my name on it, and I’m off to Biscuit Week!