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Editors Desk Feature

Tour of an Editor’s Desk

18th September 2018

Hi, y’all! I’m Jodi, Editor on the fiction team at HarperCollins Christian Publishing. My work involves a few different tasks like managing schedules, guiding books through production (the last phase before they go to print), maintaining metadata integrity (the details at online retailer sites), and working on line edits for a couple of our authors. In order to successfully accomplish these tasks, I rely on various supplies. Some are helpful, some are indispensable, and others are just for fun.

Tour of an Editor’s Desk

A few of those items that are always at my desk . . .

1. A purple pen. Because red is so cliché. I love this one: Pilot’s Precise V5 RT.

Purple Pen

2. Schedules. At least six. I usually spend a good portion of the day deep in at least two of these, and I’m always living in the future. This week it’s summer 2019.


3. A ruler. To read the schedules. Seriously.


4. The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition, and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. Because they know EVERYTHING about editing and grammar.

Cms Self Editing

5. Books. Books. And more books. (And LOTS of paper.) They remind me what I’m working toward. And they’re pretty.


Paper Stack

6. The laptop. (Obviously.) I couldn’t do any part of my job without it. God bless Maxwell Perkins and all the editors—and writers!—who did this job without one.


7. To-do list. It’s my lifeline, a single location for the more immediate items from all the schedules. The organized de-stresser when I feel overwhelmed by the 23 small tasks that MUST be done by yesterday. And yes, there are boxes for checking off things. It’s empowering.

To Do List

8. Water. Because staying hydrated is important. Coffee is also a regular visitor.


9. The Mantra of Octavo Signatures. You’ve heard of this right? 😉 I’ve had this piece of paper since I started working as an intern back in . . . a while ago. It has lived on the wall of every cube I’ve inhabited over the years. It’s super handy.

Octavo Signatures

(For those who may not know, this is the list of the page counts for a book. Each signature contains 16 pages, so the page count of any book must be divisible by 16. We will never print a book with 285, 420, or 370 pages; these would have to be bumped up or cut down to the appropriate number: 288, 416, or 368.)

10. Décor. Zebra calendar. ♥ Puppy pics. Family pics. Pretty gifts. Truthful inspirational quotes.

Decor2 Decor1 Decor 3

What are the most important things at your desk?