More on roles

After I talked about the importance of writing roles while you’re still a 1-2 person shop, I made a list based on the work we’ve done on Yog’s Notebook so far. It looked something like this:

  • Editor
    • acquisitions editor
    • copy editor
    • proofreader
    • developmental editor
    • layout designer
    • web designer
  • Publisher
    • bookkeeper
    • business manager (HR, financial planning?)
    • sales
    • customer service
    • marketing
  • Content
    • writer
    • graphical designer/illustrator
    • contributing editor

When I came back to it a week or so later, I felt like it still didn’t really do enough to describe the work, in a way that would be helpful in assigning portions to someone else. So then I listed every activity I could think of that we’ve done so far. Combined with the labels above, I have this:

  • Editor
    • lead editor: send publication to printer
    • acquisitions editor: read submissions, select submissions for each issue, sign contract for writer’s copy (and ours), respond to submission queries, send rejections for work not selected
    • copy editor: check content for spelling, grammar, and conformance to style guidelines
    • proofreader: verify that all content is represented on the page as intended
    • developmental editor: discuss story changes with writers
    • layout designer: lay out the publication, create cover design
    • web designer: create website, set up domain name and web hosting
  • Publisher
    • bookkeeper: record expenses, record sales
    • business manager: write/create a contract, send contracts for selected work, pay writers, file contracts somewhere retrievable, file receipts, buy office supplies (envelopes, labels, etc), get quotes from printers, create financial analyses
    • sales: send announcements of new issue, set up PayPal for purchasing copies, contact stores about stocking our publication
    • fulfillment: package purchased copies for mailing, mail copies of zine to purchasers, email PDFs to purchasers
    • customer service
    • marketing: print promotional materials (stickers), plan release party
  • Content
    • writer
    • graphical designer/illustrator: create graphics for web, publication, merchandise
    • contributing editor: write editorial content

I’m sure this is incomplete, and that there are other (better?) ways to organize the tasks and roles, but it’s a start, and it was interesting for me to see how many different kinds of things were involved in getting that first issue out. If anyone who has submitted work to us (or any other small publication) is reading this, I hope it helps explain why it can take a little while to hear back; we have so many other jobs to do at the same time.

I think the next step would be to look at what roles could be handed off to other people (or outsourced to another company) but right now we don’t have the resources. Still, I’m glad to have some idea of where I would start.

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