A day in the life of a history editor
Posted on: 28/06/2016 with tags: editor blog, Maddy Price
Non-fiction editor Maddy Price takes us through a day in the life of a history editor!‘I feel very lucky to have a job as an editor of, among other things, history books. Books I’ve worked on include The Bletchley Girls by Tessa Dunlop, The Private Lives of the Tudors by Tracy Borman and I’m working on a forthcoming biography of Jane Austen by Lucy Worsley. It’s a dream come true for someone who loved history at school, and chose to do English literature at university. Now I’m combining my passions for history and books as non-fiction Editor here at Hodder & Stoughton.
I spend a lot of my time trying to come up with ideas for new books. I’ll look through lists of upcoming anniversaries to see if any of them might make interesting books. If I think an idea has potential, I’ll try to find exactly the right author for the project. One of my favourite parts of the job is pairing up author and subject in this way. It can lead to some brilliant combinations, for example Tracy Borman on Thomas Cromwell, or Boris Johnson on Winston Churchill (not my idea sadly!). I’ll also read submissions from agents and try to pick out projects with potential. Most history books have picture sections, and I work with the author and a picture researcher to scour the archives for the best images to illustrate the text. It’s brilliant fun looking at paintings, photographs, letters and other documents to find the best images. We always try to include some more unusual choices that people might not have seen before. My day mostly consists of jobs such as writing cover copy, briefing cover artwork, sorting proof readers and indexers, and having meetings with other departments like publicity, sales and marketing to discuss forthcoming books. Occasionally I’ll meet with an agent or an author.
I do most of my reading and editing at home because there’s too much distraction in our open-plan office! In the evenings there might be a book launch to attend – we recently launched The Private Lives of the Tudors by Tracy Borman at Hampton Court Palace. It was a real treat to spend an evening at the palace after it had closed to the public.’