The Joy of Interruptions

Yesterday I was asked

–what subtitle we should have on an upcoming book
–what title I’d recommend for a different book
–how to handle art costs for a book we are copublishing with a British publisher
–whether we are changing the retail price on a backlist book
–to consider suggestions for handling work flow in the editorial department
–if I saw any problem with an editor scheduling a business trip while I would also be gone to the Frankfurt Book Fair
–what price and print run we should recommend for a potential book
–if a particular author ever sent back a signed contract

–which chapter of a proposed book I wanted to photocopy and distribute for an upcoming publishing meeting
–if we should schedule a certain book for next spring or next fall
–if I knew how to get in touch with the author of an out-of-print IVP book published in 1951–or whether the author was still alive
–if I remembered a piece we did on Charles Swindoll because someone wanted to reprint it
–if I would review a memo before it went to the whole office
–a question neither I nor the person who interrupted me can now recall

And that was just from the people who came to my door. That did not include the fifty-some non-spam emails I received or the miscellaneous phone calls.

So what am I to make of all these interruptions? What I make of it is that it is my job to be interrupted.

In my mind, one of the main responsibilities I have as supervisor of the editorial department is to help everyone else get their work done. I keep my door open 90 percent of the time just for this purpose. If I can help people be productive and get their work done, then I’ve had a good day.

Certainly that’s not the entirety of my job. I need to be proactive on a number of fronts, so occasionally I am not available to be interrupted because I’m out of the office or I’ve closed my door. But I try to make myself as available as possible to help others do well because if they are succeeding, I am succeeding.

Author: Andy Le Peau

I've been an editor and writer for over forty years. I am passionate about ideas and how we can express them clearly, beautifully, and persuasively. I love reading good books, talking about them, and recommending them. I thoroughly enjoy my family who help me continue on the path of a lifelong learner.

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