03 Oct Behind the scenes at GEA HQ…
Abigail Kohlhoff, Managing Editor & Wales and South West Programme Leader, shares the highs and lows of a typical day in the Golden Egg Academy nest!
What could I tell you about typical day at GEA HQ? It really depends on the time of year you choose to visit us! I could tell you about the wild ideas we have for the Big Honk (most of which have to be pared back to something more realistic), the fun we have putting together reading lists (we know how to live it up) or the stressful days when deadlines loom and we have to work double time to get everything ready for the next workshop/social/meeting/course/editorial (delete as appropriate). Perhaps I’ll tell you about a more typical day at HQ? Maybe one of my favourites. A normal Tuesday with a little surprise.
Every day begins with coffee, the stronger the better, and a small catch up on the previous day’s editorial with Imogen (usually whilst trying to give both Lettie and Milo equal amounts of fuss to avoid favouritism). Then it’s an update of the to-do list – that never-ending-ever-growing to do list, I’m sure you all know the feeling!
We always try to set aside a good hour to start the day with getting back to emails from you lovely lot. Every Tuesday includes a Programme Leader catch-up so we get some (virtual) face-time with the wonderful Tilda and Charlotte, as well as a selection of our other lovely editors who are able to stop by with updates on all things GEA. Tuesday’s usually include a submissions check-in with the wonderful Adamma too. Then comes all the other stuff – website updates, social media scheduling, workshop scheduling, venue organisation, invoicing, workshop prep, further admin emails, scheduling of the reading timetable, more admin emails, socials updates, marketing, networking, planning for courses twelve to twenty-four months in advance. Oh, and some more admin emails, of course.
So, to the surprise… The inbox pings and, whilst silently beavering away, I hear Imogen hooray, hop out of her seat and do a little jig of excitement. “S/HE’S GOT A DEAL!”. Followed by a general flurry of excitement as we both run over to read the full email from whichever lucky writer has been offered a publishing contract. These days are the best because we get to share in the excitement of the Egg whose hard work has paid off. They’ve put in the time, taken on board the lessons taught at our workshops, listened to their editor’s feedback, worked hard on rewrites at home, put in the time to hone their novel to a point that some lucky publisher has seen it and said YES – WE WANT THIS NOVEL! We get to celebrate with them and congratulate them on their hard work long before the deal is made public. We know how hard they’ve worked to get to this point and their reward is the mental image of Imogen and me flapping about the office in joy. This, quite obviously, is the best reward they could possibly hope for – nothing to do with all their hard work and talent being recognised by their new publisher.
Then comes the waiting. And waiting. And a little more waiting before we FINALLY get to honk about it in the newsletter and share it with you lovely lot. (Please add the newsletter to the to-do list.)
So that’s about it for a typical day at GEA HQ. A lot of administration, to do lists and behind the scenes work broken up by manic dances of joy when we get to celebrate with you about your success. That’s why we do this. We love our job, we love the analytical and the creative and the (occasionally) mind-numbing administration because every so often we’re reminded WHY we do this. For the readers. For the children and young adults who will get to read the work we’ve come to love as much as you.