From the Desk of the ‘Ed’-itor


A few weeks ago I mentioned that working on editing projects is frequently like raising small children: you pay attention to the one that screams the loudest. Interestingly – and unexpectedly – the one that screamed the loudest this week was one I thought was dead: the specialty business magazine I’ve served as managing editor of over the last three years.

It’s been about eight months since we last published an issue and I thought the economy had gotten the better of it. But the publisher called me late last week and said they are going to produce a smaller issue for distribution at a conference at the end of July, and a full issue to be released in conjunction with a conference in October.

I told them I’d need the weekend to think about it, mainly because I suddenly find myself with a lot of projects on my plate and don’t want to make the mistake of over-committing. As tempting as it may be when projects are offered to you, if you take too much on at the same time, none of it turns out as well as it otherwise could.

After a long conversation with the graphic designer (who I love working with; she’s a consummate pro), I understood the project well enough to feel like I could do it justice, so I signed up for more.

As managing editor, much of what I do is simply to keep things moving forward. The work I’ll do as editor of the How To Write Magical Words book will probably draw as much from my experience as a managing editor as it will from my fiction editing for IGMS. When you bring a lot of writers in on a single project, there’s inevitably a lot of cat-herding to do, no matter how focused and committed each individual writer may be to the project. That’s just the nature of any project that involves more than one person.

With the business magazine, there is content editing to do, line editing, production editing, etc. etc., and I’m responsible for doing some of that work myself, as well as making sure the rest if it gets done by others in a timely fashion. I also line up fact-checkers and multiple proofreaders for the various stages of the project. One thing I’ve learned the hard way (why is it always the hard way…?) is that there is always room for one more proofreader. There may not be enough time or money, but there’s always room. It never fails to amaze me how even when I have three proofers working on the same stage of a project, each one will have certain things they key in on. Inevitably they each will find things the other two missed. If you want the text clean, you need to put lots of eyes on it. (That’s the primary reason I already told the rest of the MW crew to expect a pdf of How To Write Magical Words before it goes to the publisher; they represent a lot of eyes, and no one is going to care as much about the quality of this book as they do).

In addition to the editing work, I also serve as the liaison between the publisher of the business magazine and the printing company that physically produces each issue. With bigger magazines, this would be handled by a separate production editor, but this particular magazine doesn’t have the budget to handle another editor, so lucky me, I get to do that, too.

So anyway, I spent a good deal of time this week fielding phone calls, trading emails, and communicating in every way imaginable except possibly smoke signals, all in order to set the necessary components in place to get the business magazine done by the end of July.

Once that project gets rolling, it will scream less and I can get back to the business of reading stories for IGMS, reading posts for the MW How To book, and occasionally trying to write some stories of my own.

Oh, and one other thing… (I’ve saved the best for last…)

There’s not a lot I can say yet because things are still in the preliminary planning stages, but this week we took some solid and necessary steps toward advancing another Magical Words project, a project we’ve been keeping secret until now: an anthology of short stories by Magical Words authors. There will be both single-author stories and collaborations in this book, with stories not just from the regular MW writers, but many of your favorite guests as well. Anyone who has ever appeared as a guest here on Magical Words is fair game. The full line-up, however, is still a work in progress, so now would be the appropriate time for you, the reader, to voice your opinion about who you’d also like to see in the anthology. Obviously there have been more writers than can possibly be contained in a single volume, but if you’ve got a favorite, it’s time to speak up.

See, I told you it was good.

So what are you waiting for? The comment section awaits.


11 comments to From the Desk of the ‘Ed’-itor

  • >>When you bring a lot of writers in on a single project, there’s inevitably a lot of cat-herding to do, no matter how focused and committed each individual writer may be to the project.

    Mmmmrrrooowwwww. 🙂

    Edmund, I am very excited about the short story anthology. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very, very, long time. These are some of my favorite people / writers here at MW, and I can’t wait to see what we drop on your doorstep. Hopefully it won’t follow up on the cat analogy.

    Hmmm. Idea for a short that starts off with a dead rat…

  • mudepoz

    Dead. Rat. I don’t even want to think what the cover of THAT would look like.

  • Deb S

    An MW short story anthology sounds magical:) You guys came up with some good ideas at Con Carolina. Bottle that water or was it the margaritas?

  • I’m glad to hear that the business magazine is up and running again. Good for you. And yes, I’m very excited about the anthology. And the How To. Deb, I was drinking scotch those nights, but clearly it was magical scotch…

  • How old was that Scotch, David?

  • I’m excited about this antho, too. This is going to be so much fun. Not as much fun as an RV full of booze, but maybe we can include one of those little bottle they serve on airplanes with each copy of the antho. That would HAVE to help sales!

  • Edmund, before you have the readers thinking we were all sloshed to the gills, (hand over heart) I don’t think anyone drank and drove, and I don’t think anyone had enough to be sloshed even halfway to the gills. I carted home nearly all the liquor I brought and have been giving it away.
    No one seems to want the gin…

  • Fascinating stuff, Ed. Thanks. Excited for the upcoming anthology, and delighted to have you at the helm.

  • >> It never fails to amaze me how even when I have three proofers working on the same stage of a project, each one will have certain things they key in on.

    That’s exactly how I feel with the MW Beta group. The feedback I get is so varied that it helps me to see what I’ve written with new eyes. Same thing the few times I’ve compared my own editing job to other. All of us see different things. For instance, my spelling/grammar/punctuation/repeated words radar seems to stand out as one of my strengths.

    As for writers, well, I’m very attached to Mindy’s writing, especially considering she’s the one who sent me here. 🙂

  • Mikaela

    Oooh. Does that mean we will get the Jo and Jane crossover that Catie Murphy mentioned last year? Pretty please?

  • There was no drinking and driving in the creation of this anthology (or any other book). Some veeeery long walks across the parking lot, but that’s not the same thing.

    Mikaela: the Jo and Jane crossover is a possibility, but it is only that — possible. I know I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed…