Managing Managing Editor: Office Structure

I wanted to start a weekly blog in which I explain some of the business I attend to as Managing Editor. Surprisingly (or perhaps not), this now humorous questionnaire from the fifties for secretaries is pretty applicable to the job of Managing Editor at a lit mag in 2014. A score of 80% or better "reveals a good personality for the business world." How did you do?

As Managing Editor of NAR, I am the only staff member in the office. Our other editors are full-time professors at the University of Northern Iowa. A few of them provide their time on a strictly volunteer basis while others receive a very small course release for their time in the office.  As a result, I do all of the management. (In addition to my teaching load at various institutions).

This is my attempt at streamlining our blog schedule using a series of high lighters late on a Friday night on my kitchen table. Perhaps regretfully, nothing in this photo is staged.


We have up to 30 student interns every semester during the academic year. Students join us on one of three premises.  The most popular option is via the Federal Work Study option. As an "on-campus" business, students who qualify for the program can work up to 20 hours a week in our office. Other students sign up for a course credit option offering their time in exchange for 2-3 course credits toward their program of study at the university. The final group consists of assigned graduate assistants who provide their time in exchange for credit and/or a stipend toward their studies. Our students come from varied academic backgrounds, including English, art, business, psychology, and music.

Many of our editors work remotely whenever they can so that they can focus on their courses.  This is convenient for office flow, but does leave me as the only "in-office" employee to attend to submission status inquiries, bills, invoices, publicity, advertising, lay out, printing decisions, budgeting concerns, social media maintenance, etc. As a result, I have become an expert in workflow management and other efficiency practices (more about these later). Asana anyone?

In my next blog, I am going to explain one of these efficiency practices: our submission system.  We use and love Submittable.  Submittable has truly changed the way we read, make decisions, manage work flow, and interact with writers.