A Day in the Life of a Senior Editor

My desk
My desk

Many people think that being an editor is a great job because you get to sit in a large, comfy chair, sip coffee, and read books all day long. Well, it is a great job (and you do get to drink a lot of coffee!), but as Ylva Publishing’s senior editor, I actually spend most of my time doing other things.

So, for those of you who are curious: welcome to a typical day in the life of a senior editor (not that there actually is a typical day; no two days are completely alike).

7 a.m. – I don’t set an alarm clock, but my biological clock usually wakes me right on time. Since being an editor and writer means spending the next twelve (or more) hours sitting at my desk, I start off the day with a half hour of exercise trainer. Then it’s breakfast time—usually my own mix of muesli.

8 a.m. – I make the long commute to my office. Okay, it’s just a few steps from the kitchen. Since I’m a writer in addition to being an editor, my mornings are usually dedicated to writing. I strive for 2,000 words a day, but if there are fires to be put out in my editing job, I don’t always make it. Right now, I’m working on Heart Trouble, a lesbian medical romance with a twist.

1 p.m. – Lunch. I try to eat healthy—and it’s yummy too!

2 p.m. – I made my 2,000 words today! Yay! Time to put on my senior editor hat. I take a look at my e-mail—no fires to put out today. In fact, there’s a lot of fun stuff in my in-box: the print cover for our upcoming anthology, which our graphic artist wants me to review; an e-mail from an author with whom I’m brainstorming title ideas for her book, and several e-mails from our editors and proofreaders who want to know whether Ylva allows point-of-view switches in the middle of a scene (no), whether Ylva uses the Oxford comma (yes), and whether to hyphenate godawful in a manuscript using Australian spelling (yes, and it’s actually capitalized too, even though that looks God-awful to me!). This is also when I accept or reject new submissions that authors sent in. The former is one of my absolute favorite parts of my job.

3 p.m. – Time to check my to-do list, the most important tool for any project manager at Ylva Publishing. For the authors I manage, I’m involved in every step of their books’ lives—from submission, editing, proofreading, and cover creation to publication and marketing. Today, I’m editing the blurb (sales description) of a romance novel that will be published in 2017. Yes, we’re planning that far ahead.

4 p.m. – This is usually the time I read new submissions or edit manuscripts. Today, it’s Vellmar the Blade, the next book in Fletcher DeLancey’s science fiction series, and I’m happy to reconnect with one of my all-time favorite characters, Salomen. I love my job!

Working at Lesvos Lesfic 2016

Working at Lesvos Lesfic 2016


5 p.m. – Fletcher delivers pretty clean manuscripts, so today I actually have some time to work on a non-Ylva manuscript. Every year, I try to mentor two new writers via the Golden Crown Society Mentoring Program. It’s a great way to give back to the community of LGBTQ+ writers.

7 p.m. – On Tuesdays, we have our weekly team meetings, where we go over the production schedule to make sure all of our projects are on track. On other days, I have Skype conference calls with Ylva authors or staff. Today, there are no calls on my schedule, so I use this time to work on material for my Five Core Elements of Fiction workshop that I’ll hold at the Lesvos Lesfic book holiday.

8 p.m. – Time to wrap up work. To be honest, on most days, that just means I move to the living room to proofread one of my manuscripts, answer a few more e-mails, or do some research. But today, I actually stop working and watch a few episodes of The Walking Dead.

Midnight – I’m heading off to bed, ready to do it all over again tomorrow.

Good night,
Sandra Gerth
Senior editor

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  1. Lee Winter September 11, 2016 at 15:02 - Reply

    God-awful? I have never seen that used Down Under even once. Which dictionary produces that literary eyesore, may I ask? I have half a mind to email them to knock it off! Meanwhile – you sound so organised and disciplined. Excellent! Thanks for sharing your day.

    • Sandra Gerth September 11, 2016 at 15:17 - Reply

      Thanks for reading, Lee. Actually, several dictionaries insist on “God-awful,” among them Merriam-Webster’s and the Australian Oxford Dictionary.

      • Lee Winter September 12, 2016 at 04:02 - Reply

        We live, die, and swear by the Macquarie Dictionary at work and it’s the one all the journalists cuddle in bed. That’s why I’ve not seen it elsewhere. 🙂

        • Sandra Gerth September 12, 2016 at 18:11 - Reply

          We can certainly use Macquarie for your manuscripts. As long as we’re consistent about it, that’s fine with me.

  2. Catherine Lane September 11, 2016 at 23:36 - Reply

    Man, you wear a lot of hats! But I have personally benefited from the 3pm and 5pm hour. So, thank you!

    • Sandra Gerth September 12, 2016 at 18:12 - Reply

      You’re very welcome, Catherine. It’s always a pleasure to work with you!

  3. Dee September 12, 2016 at 00:08 - Reply

    Thank you for sharing an insight into your day. As a reader I certainly appreciate the well polished books Ylva produces.

    • Sandra Gerth September 12, 2016 at 18:12 - Reply

      Thank you, Dee. I hope you keep enjoying our books.

  4. Conchita September 12, 2016 at 02:10 - Reply

    It’s great to get a glimpse of the other side!

  5. Fletcher DeLancey September 12, 2016 at 15:47 - Reply

    Hey, whaddaya mean, “pretty clean” manuscripts? My manuscripts are so clean you could eat off them. If I were editing here, I’d tell you to cut that adjective. 😉

  6. Fletcher DeLancey September 12, 2016 at 16:21 - Reply

    Oh wait. I meant adverb. 😀

    • Sandra Gerth September 12, 2016 at 18:13 - Reply

      See? You do need an editor 🙂 But seriously, I definitely appreciate how clean your manuscripts are by the time I get them. I always have to remind myself that I’m not reading for pleasure.

  7. Debby Ladiges September 12, 2016 at 17:59 - Reply

    Wow! Your gifts have created space between the space in my fixed world. I am so appreciative. When I read your books there is a well ordered progression in my mind seeing, feeling, experiencing the adventure and now I know where it all begins! Always keep up your work out. I would like you to be on this side of the grass and work outs help. Thanks!

    • Sandra Gerth September 12, 2016 at 18:16 - Reply

      While I know I work too much, I take good care of myself otherwise, working out and eating healthy. Luckily, I live in a very nice area where I can take a walk around a beautiful lake or along a river with plenty of gray herons and storks any time I want.

      I hope you (and the horses!) keep reading our books.

  8. Lisa September 13, 2016 at 02:34 - Reply

    I am interested in working in the editing/publishing/writer field. Any suggestions? I am going to UNG (University of North Georgia) to complete an English Literature Degree ( currently). Personally, your day sounds like heaven to me.

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