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Day in the Life (In-Office): Lois Evans

Editor, Random House Children’s Books

Day: Monday, April 4, 2022

6:00 am: Rise and shine! Today is a “work at the office” day, so I’m up early to be ready in time for my train into Manhattan from Long Island. I’m a slow riser, and I almost always work from home unless we have an important in-person meeting, so 6:00am is more like 6:30-6:45am most of the time. 

7:35 am: I leave my house and walk to my local LIRR station. The walk is roughly 20 mins for me, so I load up my phone with podcasts to keep occupied. This morning, I’m listening to the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel recap pod. When I get to the train, I tell myself that I’ll catch up on reading but I take a commuter nap!

9:20 am: Somehow I’m the first person to get to the office even though my train’s delayed and I’m running late. I open my work computer, make some office tea, and eat my overnight oats while catching up on emails. Ahead of my monthly imprint meeting (me + manager + our creative director), I go over my notes from our debrief from last week. With a few minutes to spare before heading downtown to our meeting spot, I read a few chapters of [redacted]’s manuscript, which I need to finish by the end of the week. 

10:10 am: My manager and I take the train together. After dealing with (more) A-train delays and swapping COVID anxiety stories, we arrive and meet our creative director at our usual spot. The purpose of this meeting is to make sure we’re all unified on our imprint goals for the month, not crossing any wires in terms of author/creator outreach, and brainstorming ideas to make the best books possible.

10:30 am-12:00pm: We talk shop over lunch—invoicing, manuscript progress, people to hit up for books, agents to double check with, the State of Publishing, and marketing/publicity strategies. We give each other updates on individual progress (I had a few important-ish calls last week, and more on Wednesday, I’m locked out of my MSWL account, I have to track down a few contacts, things like that). We discuss ARC copy for a novel on our Fall 23 list, outlines for the second book in a (yet to be announced) duology, and an imprint spotify playlist (because we’re hip and cool). Lastly, we go over a few aims for the spring ahead of our May meeting.  

12:00 pm-12:10pm: We split up–my boss, the creative director, goes to a non-publishing meeting uptown. My manager and I take the train together, but I’m spending the rest of the day working from home. 

12:20-12:50pm: Surprise! My boss left his wallet at lunch (wild) so I head uptown to his next meeting place to drop it off before going back to work. There I briefly meet a prospective author (a yangqin player) and then rush to Penn Station. 

1:22-2:00pm: Luckily, I make the train in the nick of time and get back to Long Island to finish the rest of the workday from home. On the ride over, I continue listening to my podcast, and jot down some work notes on my phone. 

2:20-5:00 pm: I’m home! I make a decaf latte and hunker down for the rest of the day. I email a prospective author to set up a call/see if we vibe, I update all of my grids, I transmit jacket copy for the first book in that duology I mentioned earlier. I unwind by doing some meeting prep to keep from cramming on Tuesday–for me, this means, rereading materials and doing some very tasteful social media stalking of the authors I’ll be catching up with. The last thing I do before the end of the day is schedule a training with our finance department because I need a refresh on RHCB’s P&L system, and don’t want to be flailing when I start signing books up. 

6:30pm: I’m not supposed to be on my work email, but I’m a little bit addicted (do as I say, not as I do) and see that an author emailed me back about a future project. I make a reminder to reply during business hours, update my submission grid, and log off for the day. 

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