Saturday, October 13, 2007

H. Eye Round Two, and Some Friction

Today (ok, technically yesterday) we had the second round of going through submissions for the Hungry Eye. This was also the third meeting all together. For one gal, this was the first she had attended. She congratulated me on being head editor. Then, she started causing wrinkles in the works. For one, she really wanted to cover certain things, like introductions and certain protocol points, which had already been covered in the meetings she missed. For another, she got into this habit of having to look at each piece we were deciding on, to "remember" what it was.

Had this one person alone not been present at this meeting, we could have shaved a good fifteen minutes off. My favorite part was when she wanted to talk about our standards for acceptance (i.e. what we talked about last time) and made a point of saying "If my name is going to be on this, I want..." Her name? What about my name? Not to be ego-centric, but come on. I've got more at stake. I'm not fooling around here. But, if her name is going to be on it... Which raises the question of where she sees herself in the power structure. My answer: the top. Except, the problem is, she's the latecomer and not the head editor. She has little to stand on here.

I threw my weight around a little bit today and, among a few other things, gave a definite "yes" to a piece everyone liked but her. A small thing, but it was either make the call or save it for us to talk about again later. Besides "I don't like these kinds of stories" isn't enough to convince me

My other frustration was people messing with my piles. As we were going through the pieces, a couple of other folks kept picking up the submissions to look at them. A couple of times I momentarily lost track of them, and a couple of times these folk tried to set the submission in the wrong pile. Now, you might not know it to look at my house or my desk, but I like organization. Granted, sometimes it's a looser schema than others, but when I have four piles of submissions, (yes, no, come back to, and not decided yet), and somebody puts one into the wrong pile, I get annoyed. There's a reason I'm sorting them, so I can keep them straight. There is a method.

I have to admit, the fact that this week has been busier and more stressful than usual, combined with the "tick, tick" of knowing that I had to keep the meeting moving so I could get to work on time did little to expand my patience reservoir.

At the end, I tried to have what Katherine would call a "Come to Jesus" talk with the staff. I set a date for the next meeting, and told everyone that by the next meeting I want to have a definite list of acceptances so we can let the authors know and begin the process of getting the electronic copies from them. So, I said, this means everyone needs to re-read the pieces we're still debating and have it firm in their head whether they want to accept it or not. I also said that I want to make the next meeting more efficient than the one we had today so that we didn't have the paper shuffle and all the "lemme see it agains." I phrased it in terms of how everybody's busy so let's all do each other a favor and try to streamline the process. I'm really hoping it works to stress the idea of stop wasting time. However, I don't know if those I especially wanted to get through to were listening. I got a few nods though, so that was encouraging.

Now, when it all boils down to it in the power dynamics, the funny thing is that it's pretty simple. Those who aren't pulling their weight don't have equal say with those who are. Even more important, I'm the one who gets to make that call. Most important, when it comes to people throwing their respective weight around, let's face it, I'm the heaviest of us all. Like the man said, it's good to be the king, (I mean, head editor).


Mishell said...

Ahhh, the joys of management. Sounds like you've got a good bead on it, though. Just remember to follow through on all threats, behave fairly, and if something is god (or bad) address it (I'm talking behavior, not literature.)

Jenny said...

Damn straight, Ali! You're my hero.

I don't know about behaving fairly... =)

Also, when choosing acceptances and whatnot it's sometimes about more than what's a really good story. Maybe this year you got a whole bunch of really touching stories about family and the one story about the car wreck doesn't fit. As the editor, it's your job to keep that stuff streamlined, the rest of 'em just need to worry about the quality (and sometimes that means getting over your own personal likes/dislikes--though when I was head editor, I found a distinct distaste for animal poetry. Just a thing...)

Shane said...

Long live the king (or queen or head editor...).

Your late-comer reminds me a little of a new co-worker of Jenny's. Just signed on and decided everybody had to do things her way. Haven't met her, but I've heard the stories. Some people just don't feel involved unless they are making waves. Damn nuisances.

Whittaker Luckless said...

Ali...I think you need a bull whip.

Sounds like you've got it figured out mostly. Level headed level-headedness approachy thingy. But a bull whip has a charisma modifier of +3. That's video game talk for strengthens yer confidence. A good thing even when you don't necessarily need it.