Day in the Life: Development Editor – Bright Red.

This week for Day in the Life, Rosie Howie, Development Editor at educational publisher Bright Red, takes us through the varied day that comes with her role!

2013-09-26 10.06.20As Development Editor at Bright Red (an award-winning, independent educational publishing house based in Edinburgh), any one day in my life is incredibly different from the next. As part of a small (but perfectly formed!) team I have to be able to adapt to whatever is needed at that time by the business. We’re also very seasonal, with a big production season over summer in time for the ‘Back to School’ period and marketing/sales heavy times through the school year.

This means that the idea of writing just one ‘Day in the Life’ post is mildly terrifying but here goes. To give you a flavour for just what my job can, could and has entailed we’ll imagine that there are more than enough hours in the day today and that I can fit in a bit of everything…

I stroll into the office of a morning and complete the first (and most pressing) task – putting the kettle on! Caffeine fixed, I log on to email and spend some time corresponding with authors, peer-reviewers, copy-editors, typesetters, proof-readers, digital suppliers, customers and anyone else who may have been in touch.

bright red xAs we project manage every aspect of our books in-house, there is a lot of plate-spinning by email!

Once I’m all caught up with what I need other people to do, I can look at my own ‘To-do’ list. This always seems to have some combination of:

  • development editing (ensuring that first submissions will easily flow into our template)
  • review comments (digesting feedback and working it through with our authors)
  • picture research (does what it says on the tin – straightforward for the sciences, much more abstract for a chapter on English grammar!)
  • working through a copy-edit (ensuring that all changes make good sense, any queries are sent on to our author, the template will still be followed and so on)
  • preparing a text for typesetting (ensuring any crib-notes are together, all images are collated and named correctly, the typescript is in good order and the templates are all together in one enormous zip file)
  • collating proof corrections (from authors, ourselves and proof-readers – I find that this is best done in person, over lunch!)
  • checking on corrections (once the typesetters have taken on the collated corrections and returned the next set of proofs, I sit down with both sets and check everything has been taken on correctly)
  • working through our Digital Zone and pushing new titles live on the site


  • signing off for titles press and checking over the ones that arrive from the printers – this is definitely the best bit, ah new book smell!

Bright Red image.png

After a couple of hours of attempting to tackle this list – we stop for lunch. This is an important part of the day when the team all comes together to discuss fundamental and important stuff – like who got fired on The Apprentice the night before!

On this particular afternoon, we have a publishing meeting. This is when we all come together to catch up on all projects, marketing and sales progress. It’s great because there’s cake it lets us all see where we’re at, we can discuss any issues that need ironed out, put forward ideas for new projects/marketing pieces and work out our priorities together.

After the production meeting, I’ll usually have a few more emails to send and a couple of tasks to finish off before calling it a day.

Sometimes there will be an evening event – we often go along to school parents’ nights to sell our books for instance – so I put on my sales hat and go along to show off our wares. It’s great to speak directly to customers and I actually really enjoy selling the books because I know how great the content, design and extra features really are!

Rosie: Twitter |  Bright Red: Twitter, Facebook, Website, Digital Zone.


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