Reports to: Editorial Project Manager
Pediment Publishing is seeking an acquisition editor to be part of a team publishing books of impeccable quality, targeting the interests of our respective media partners’ audiences.
The acquisition editor role is a critical part of our publishing program and is responsible for ensuring that all titles are supported by adequate resources and materials to allow us to produce an appealing product for the target audience.
For pictorial history books in particular, the acquisition editor is generally required to spend up to one week in-market per title to acquire material via on-site scanning of historic images and researching/writing of captions. The acquisition editor is also responsible for organizing the raw images and edited captions into chapters and submitting the organized materials on deadline to production. Other Pediment production team members handle the design, composition, production schedule and proof management, marketing, online sales, customer service, fulfillment and ongoing client support. With more than 900 titles published, Pediment has established an efficient system for this process and will provide training and the equipment required for the acquisition editor to succeed in this critical role.
A successful acquisition editor will be creative as well as detail-oriented, able to juggle multiple details of content acquisition while fostering and maintaining good content partner relations. This individual will thrive working in a self-directed manner while still being an excellent team player. A successful acquisition editor will have excellent computer skills, solid English and grammar skills, and a genuine interest in ensuring the content of each project is as accurate as possible. Good people skills are also an essential requirement for this position.
Overview of specific responsibilities:
The role of the content acquisition editor can be broken into four stages: 1) Securing content partners; 2) Preparation; 3) In-market content acquisition; 4) Organization of content into chapters and submission of the organized content to production; 5) Proofing.
1) Securing content partners
Once the salesperson has secured the account (typically a newspaper client), an acquisition editor is assigned to the book project to research and secure partners for the content of the book. Organizations such as historical societies, museums, libraries and universities are common content partners. The acquisition editor contacts these organizations in the market area, proposes our partnership arrangement, secures an agreement with each partner, and schedules the date and time scan session will take place.
Prior to traveling to a market to begin the acquisition process, it is important that the acquisition editor understand the specifics of the title (book) they have been assigned. Preparation begins with reading and understanding the detailed itinerary and description of the title.
The itinerary, prepared by the project rep, provides the acquisition editor with a complete outline of where to be when and what to expect at each location during the in-market scanning period, be it a public scanning session or collection scanning from an archive. It will include location addresses as well as contact information and other details relative to each specific session. The itinerary will also typically include some open time to work with private collectors or other archives that come to light during this period.
The final step of preparation is to do some light research on the subject matter. A little time online will yield a basic overview of the history of the area the title will focus on, including what the major industries were during the time period covered as well as disasters, and other significant happenings. It is also useful to nail down significant dates such as the city or county’s incorporation date. This can be useful in identifying major celebrations, parades, etc. An hour or two spent on this research will prove very useful once the in-market work begins.
Potential additional responsibilities:
The acquisition editor can also play a key role in building partnerships that make a project more successful. Prior to the preparation phase outlined above, the acquisition editor can participate in developing the project at the ground level and assist with locating key photo sources and bringing content partners on board. There is a paid bonus structure tied to this added responsibility.
3) In-Market Content Acquisition
Content for Pediment pictorial history books typically comes from as many as several types of sources: Newspaper archives; Content Partner Archives, including local museums, libraries, historical societies and/or universities; Public Submissions.
Newspaper archives: Though the newspaper is our partner and client, it is not unusual for them to not be involved in providing images for the book. It is a rare newspaper that actually has historic photo archives. Most often their images will have been donated to area historical societies, libraries or universities over the years. For books that get into the 1970s, ’80s and later, however, the newspaper is often relied upon for images because historical partners such as museums, libraries do not have images beyond the 1960s. One potential complication relative to working with newspaper archives is that images from the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s are typically in the form of 35mm negatives, not well organized or indexed, and often lacking information for captions. In some cases, if only a published date is available on the negatives, caption information can be acquired later from microfilm.
Archives of local museums, libraries, historical societies and/or universities: Most Pediment pictorial history books have one or more of these institutions on board as content partners. It is the images we acquire from the archives of these institutions that typically form the heart of the book. The process of scanning images from archives includes photo selection, photo scanning and photo captioning. The acquisition editor is the main point of contact for these content partners.
Public submitted images: Most, but not all, of our pictorial history books include public-submitted images. We acquire these photos during public scanning sessions promoted in advance by the newspaper. Each acquisition editor must ensure that they are getting as much pertinent information as possible when accepting public submissions, which will in turn allow the editor to write the caption information accurately.
4) Organization of Content
Once content is gathered, the next step is to organize that content into chapters using image cataloging software called Media Pro. A basic outline of chapters is usually presented from the account rep when the project is launched and provides an idea of how the client would prefer to organize the content. The outline provided by the rep will typically also include the target number of images that will be in the finished book. It is common that the scanning process will yield considerably more images than are called for. It is always nice to have more photos than are needed to that you have flexibility in determining the balance between chapters and overall final selection of images for the book.
During the content organization process it is the acquisition editor’s responsibility to weed out weak or repetitive images to get the count down to no more than 100 images above the target.
It is during this organizational process that the acquisition editor has the opportunity to put their stamp on the book through photo selection, chapter organization and placement of photos within the chapters. The acquisition editor can also propose an alternative chapter outline if the content suggests a deviation from the original.
5) Proofing — editing the layout and ensuring that all involved content partners and their input is as accurate as possible.
After the production artists have created a layout from the content for a project, the acquisition editor will have a couple opportunities to review and proofread their projects. This step allows the editor, the person with the most in-market knowledge, to review and revise where needed, as well as to coordinate proofs with each content partner. Proofing cycles are at the direction of the editorial project manager.
Excellent people skills. Ability to travel and be away from home for two to three weeks at a time. Writing ability to craft captions from notes and information found on backs of photos, as well as an aptitude for proofreading content in layout form. An eye for good photography. Basic understanding of digital imaging. Ability to adapt to different situations while in-market. Excellent computer skills. Typing skills a plus. Ability to work late, go the extra mile and do whatever it takes to accomplish company goals. Be committed to continuous learning.
Applicant must be able to work with the following software:
Mac OS X Microsoft Word Microsoft Excel (basics only) Photo scanning software (we use Silverfast) Photo cataloging software (we use Media Pro)
Compensation: As a full-time (fully trained) employee, the acquisition editor would be responsible for 8-12 titles per year. Base is pay is ,000-,000 annually, depending on applicant’s prior related experience.
Per-title bonuses are paid based on the acquisition editor’s role on each title, per a set schedule. Bonuses are in addition to base pay. Pediment would cover all travel, lodging and meals when the acquisition editor is conducting in-market scanning. During the time the full-time acquisition editor is not on the road or working on title content, there would be a variety of tasks that the position would be responsible for including but not limited to: Proofreading, photo cleanup/toning, inventory management, customer service, etc.
NOTE: This is not a freelance position. No agency submissions please.
Pediment Publishing is the leader in publishing coffee-table books for media companies throughout the United States. We have a 20-year tradition of publishing books of impeccable quality, targeting the interests of our respective media partners’ audiences.