Wednesday, 07 March 2018

What being a commissioning editor involves

Phoebe Morgan, a 2018 Trailblazer Award winner, shares her take on being an editor.

Phoebe Morgan for websiteAs a commissioning editor, my role is to acquire new books for the Avon HarperCollins commercial fiction list. I work closely with a list of about 15 authors at any one time, and am involved in every stage of the process – from acquiring the book from their agent, to briefing the designer on the cover, to doing a structural and a line edit on the manuscript. I also have to make sure I am a champion for my authors, raising awareness of their novels both within the company and in the wider world.

I currently work on crime, thriller, women’s fiction and saga, so my job involves a lot of reading! I read new submissions on my Kindle (my most prized possession!) and if I like a book, I’ll get a second opinion from other editors in the team. If we’re all keen, I will ask sales for projected estimates and put together a profit and loss report, which will ultimately decide whether or not we can offer for the book. It’s very exciting buying a new book for the list, and so rewarding watching an author’s career go from strength to strength.

I feel very lucky to do what I love – it’s so much fun getting to read for a living and bringing new books into readers’ hands. I’m very proud of the Avon list and know how hard the whole team works to get a book onto the shelves (or virtual shelves) – there’s an awful lot that goes on behind the scenes and I find it a really fascinating process.

It was such an honour to win a Trailblazer Award in 2018; it’s given me a nice confidence boost and it was very inspiring to meet the rest of the shortlist too. I can’t wait to see where all the 2018 candidates are in five years’ time. It means so much to me to be recognised within the industry that I’m so passionate about, so thank you to all of the amazing judges.

You can follow me on Twitter @Phoebe_A_Morgan and visit my website for articles about writing and the publishing industry:

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