A Day in the Life of an Assisted Publisher

A lot of people primarily know me as a writer, but this last year I have been working for TAUK Publishing. What started as a favour to help founder Sue Miller sort her day-to-day processes out turned into a partnership in six short months.

So what does an assisted publisher do? I mean, come on, Estelle. Don’t you just lie on a couch all day reading books and simply say whether you enjoyed it or not?

You decide…

8 am – Logged on. My partner, Sue, is in Canada. She emails me through the night, so when I get up in the morning, I feel like the elves have been and I’m the shoemaker. She’s asking lots of questions that my caffeine-deprived body cannot cope with right now.

9 am – There have been some new enquiries including a manual, a children’s book about time travel and a novel about a sailor. I’m intrigued by the latter until I see that there are 280,000 words. I don’t think the Yellow Pages had that much! A conversation needs to be had with the author to explain to him that articulated lorries are not part of the courier delivery fleet. I open a document to start editing but get side-tracked with sorting the publishing plan for the next quarter.

10 am – I checked the bank, and it’s the same as yesterday. I often hope that one of our authors will take pity on us and make a healthy deposit for no reason at all.

11 am – I can’t cope with the heat as it’s the hottest day of the year, so I start prowling around the house looking for something cold. The only cold thing I can find is my husband’s shoulder. He’s miffed because I hogged the fan all night, but I am a woman of a certain age, and if I don’t have the fan, he gets a tongue-lashing. I send my son out for a strawberry Mivvi, but he comes back with a box of brown water. Apparently, they were choc-ices when he left the shop, but due to him walking back like Neil Armstrong, they died somewhere between house numbers 18 and 22. I live in 46. With a shiny glow all over my body, I open an email with the manuscript for a Christmas book and want to hurl my laptop out of the window.

Noon – I’ve calmed down. My husband is now talking to me, and my son has found a rogue Fab lolly ice at the back of the freezer. I get to work on sorting a new page on our website for blogs. Our lovely IT guy says I have to have content to build it. This is content.

1 pm – Accepted invites to meetings with authors, designers and illustrators over the next few days. I feel tired just looking at the week ahead and sad that there are no more lolly ices. I have found out that Rudolph is under copyright, so an author’s story needs to be changed. I’m not even sure I can say Rudolph in this blog. Are the reindeer police going to come and cart me off to jail? If they do, I hope it has Cornettos or a Vienetta at the very least.

2 pm – I asked an author yesterday to send me their biography to include in their book. It’s come back and is almost as long as the novel. I have had to return it saying I don’t need to know their allergies, their weight when they were born, their favourite colour, the last book they read, their feelings about Colin Firth, their collection of crocheted dollies, their ex-boyfriend who was addicted to sniffing baby wipes or that they eat Bird’s Eye Potato Waffles with every meal.

3 pm – Completed the final checks on a children’s book. Designer updated. Illustrator updated. System updated. I have to push my jealous feelings away. I want to write a children’s book, but whenever I start, it ends up turning into an adult version. Until I can train my brain to stop swearing and my characters not end up on the run or in jail for dealing forty kilos of coke, I’ll leave it up to those with cleaner imaginations than mine. I never read bedtime stories to my children, and now we know why.

4 pm – An author is on the phone having a meltdown because they think their book is rubbish and don’t want to publish it anymore. I put my glasses on so I can play the part of a therapist. (They can’t see me, but it helps with my character development.) After listening to them snot all over their Samsung, I tell them that all new writers are the same and that I have a cure. It’s called publication. They laugh and feel better and decide to continue with publishing. I feel better until I remember that proper therapists are on a hundred pound an hour. I don’t want the money. I just want a Mivvi.

5 pm – Went back to the document to begin the editing that I wanted to start at 9 am and wrestle with the dictionary to see if it’s ‘I Googled’ or ‘I googled’. I’ve changed the word to ‘searched’. I know that’s all lowercase, and it will stop my head from hurting.

6 pm – My husband shouts for me to come and get my tea. I feel like one of the kids as I bound down the stairs like something from a Disney movie.

6.10 pm – Back at my desk to try and finish at least one page of editing but become distracted by the invoicing and creating graphics for social media marketing.

7 pm – I have managed to create one picture that isn’t fit for Tony Hart’s gallery. I realise I have wasted a lot of time and should have edited instead. Open the document for another attempt.

7.05 pm – I hear my husband opening a bottle of prosecco. Log off.


Blog Written by Estelle Maher

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