Hello! My name is Tallulah and I’m Editorial Assistant in the Penguin Random House Audio team. I studied English at university and initially started at Penguin as part of The Scheme in 2018. I’ve always been into audiobooks and podcasts, and it was a very happy coincidence that I was placed in the audio team.
The day to day jobs of an editorial assistant are never the same – it’s a highly responsive role with each day throwing a new set of challenges and things to get stuck into. Tasks involve arranging the artwork for audiobook covers, liaising with studios and agents to ensure that audiobook recordings run smoothly, and writing copy for our audio originals.
We work across all eight publishing houses, so I’m lucky to have a really good oversight of the entire Penguin list. The audio team read each of the books that we’re working on, so we can really get a sense of the characters and who we think would be the perfect casting suggestion.
Join me on a Wednesday at work...
9.20am – I start the day by checking my emails. We work closely with the Penguin Random House US team sharing potential titles, and we get most of their correspondence overnight. A lot of a day can be spent on email, but relationship building is really important in my role.
11.30am – Time for the acquisitions meeting. This is where our whole department come together – Hannah Telfer (our Managing Director), the Sales team, Contracts, Operations and the Editorial team. It’s in these meetings that we decide which books will be made into audio editions.
12.30pm – After a long meeting, I normally head outside for lunch to stretch my legs and get some fresh air. We work on the Strand in central London, so a walk in any direction is interesting.
1.30pm – After lunch, I type up the minutes from the acquisitions meeting earlier. It’s my responsibility to email them round to the team – it’s a useful document to help keep track of what titles were signed off, as well as acting as a reference point if anyone was absent.
Audiobooks where Tallulah has cast the reader
2.30pm – Casting is one of my favourite parts of the job – it’s the chance to get really creative and look for the perfect voice to narrate the audiobook. We use a wide range of different voice agents, and the voice that we use really varies from book to book depending on the point of view, characters and where the book is set. I’m currently looking for a voice for a children’s book, so it needs to be someone with lots of energy and excitement!
3pm – We have a weekly schedule meeting with our Operations team where we take a look at the upcoming titles that are being published over the next few months. It’s a good chance to check in and see that everything is on track to be ready on time, and flag any titles that might be running a little late...
4pm – Every two weeks we have a phone call with the Penguin Random House US Audiobook team. Sometimes we share our recordings – if there’s an American book we’ll use their recordings, or vice versa with a British title. This call is a good chance to touch base with them, and see if the recordings are on track to be delivered on time, as well as to notify each other of new potential titles.
4.30pm – The last meeting of the day is the editorial meeting. All of the editorial team attend this one, and we share updates from different divisions, as well as any exciting casting news. This is also a great place to ask for any help on casting, or second opinions on production approach.
5pm – Often I get a phone call from the audiobook studio letting me know that the actor has finished recording early, or will be finishing later than planned. Where that’s the case, I’ll amend the taxi booking so the reader has a smooth journey home.
5.30pm – I do a final swoop of my emails, checking there is nothing else that urgently needs doing. Then after a busy day, it’s time to head home!
And that's my day as an Audio Editorial Assistant. A lot of organisation, but there's also brilliant opportunity for creative work too. Audiobooks are one of the fastest growing parts in publishing, so I love working in a fast-paced, innovative team.
To see more about people's roles, why not take a look at Amy's day as a Junior Designer?