My Job in 5: Lily Mac Mahon
1. Describe your role
I am the editorial assistant of Classical Studies and Archaeology at Bloomsbury Publishing. My main job is to oversee the publishing schedule of each book from the initial drawing up of the contract, to overseeing the progression of the manuscript, and finally to preparing it for production. A normal day generally involves responding to emails from authors, proofreading manuscripts, sending out books for review, building a website, and various other tasks which come my way.
2. What do you like best about your role?
Professionally, the best part of my job is working in editorial with books I really enjoy reading, as I studied Classics at university. On a more personal level, I feel very fortunate to work with such lively and intelligent people. This is not just true of my colleagues, but also of the authors I get to work with.
3. Which new projects or titles are you working on at the moment?
Our list at Bloomsbury is ever-expanding, especially with the recent acquisition of I.B.Tauris Publishers. I’m always excited to see new manuscripts come in which are part of our Classical Reception series, as they generally have such a fresh approach to the subject. For example, we recently published a volume of essays on ‘Frankenstein and Its Classics’ which looks at the influence of Greek and Roman literature on Shelley’s work. Also, I’ve just been working on the manuscript for ‘Looking at Ajax’ (edited by David Stuttard) - it is a privilege to work on titles that have such an excellent level of scholarship.
4. What skills do you need for your role?
As an editorial assistant, I think you have need to be highly organised, have a good eye for detail and an ability to learn quickly. One skill which is often overlooked in editorial is the ability to relate to people. Most of my day involves being in contact with authors and as an editorial assistant, it is also your responsibility to cultivate harmonious relationships.
5. What advice would you give to those looking to work in the industry?
If you’re looking to get into the industry, the key is to get some publishing-related experience on your CV. Volunteering at organisations is just as good as doing internships, especially since the latter are quite difficult to get. Network as much as you can, join societies and make sure to attend literary events where you’ll meet other publishing professionals. And lastly, persevere!