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Day in the Life (Remote): Gabriela Taboas

Associate Editor for Brands and Licenses, Penguin Random House

Day: Tuesday, October 3 2023

6:30 AM: Good morning! Up and about early to get ready for the day. That means coffee, a light breakfast, a few stretches, and getting some reading and writing in (and sometimes gaming! Anyone into Baldur’s Gate 3?).

8:00 AM: I take a look at what’s trending online. What are people talking about? What are they excited for? Is it a new movie? A new cartoon? What are they drawing fanart of? Since what I do focuses a lot on pop culture, it’s helpful to have an idea of what people are excited about (a new video game? A toy line? A cartoon? I must know!)

9:00 AM: Check what’s on my to-do list! I work on a lot of titles, and more often than not, they’re all in different stages. Some need cover concepts sent to design, others are still in the manuscript phase, and some are just about ready to be sent to print. Sometimes, we add a title to our list at the last minute, and I have to re-arrange and re-prioritize what needs to be done. When that happens, clear communication with your coworkers is key to getting everything done.

10:00 AM: Check my email to see if the licensor sent back any manuscripts with comments and queries, what people are requesting for specific licenses,  etc. A board book for Bluey? Sure. A journal for a movie tie-in? Okay. A search-and-find for Willy Wonka? I can do that!

10:30 AM: I review whatever design/copyediting sent my way! Should the cover have glitter? Do we have enough stickers for this activity book? How does this sketch interior look? Does this word mean what you think it means? When it comes to this part of my job, it’s a balance between making sure everything makes sense and looks good, and that everything follows the guidelines of what a licensor wants/expects for every book.

11:00 AM: I read and review manuscripts! If it’s an episodic recap, it’s important to make sure the text matches the image; if it’s a lift-the-flap board book, is the image hidden under the flap funny? Throughout the day, I’ll get messages from coworkers and hop on impromptu calls to brainstorm solutions for certain projects, figure out how to make a cover look cool, do the budget for a coloring book work, etc.

12:00 PM:  Lunch! Take your lunch hour! Eat and hydrate! Step away from your desk!

1:00 PM: Refill my coffee and back to work. I ease back into it by checking my emails. Most of my meetings are in the afternoon, so I start prepping by making sure my notes are up to date and I have an idea where everything is.

2:00 PM: Weekly meeting with the boss! What’s been done, what needs to be done, how are we doing with this title, did we drink water? Should we try adding scent to this book? What do I have to prioritize for the week?

3:30 PM: Licensing status meeting. We all get together and update one another on how things are going. What does the licensor have? Was this routed to you? Are we missing anything? What do we have in mind for Summer 2025 (is that even a real year?)?

4:00 PM: I’m tired, my brain is fried, and I want snacks. I start brainstorming and researching potential formats for upcoming licenses and start making a list for the next seasons. If I have a dummy (a blank physical copy for a potential project), I review it and test it, and talk to design and production to make sure we’re happy with how it looks. I make a list of what I need to do for the following day.

5:00 PM: Done for the day! Close my laptop and stretch my legs before heading out to see a movie. 

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