Behind The Scenes With Fiction Team’s Tracey

Shutterstock / gnepphoto © behind the scenes illustrations

This week I’m taking you behind the scenes of a typical week for me . . .

Monday’s always begin with a cheery “Good morning!” on our Teams chat group.

We will all have spoken on a Friday on our Fiction Team end-of-week video call. We have a blether and a laugh and make up for the fact we’re not in the office and chatting to each other over a coffee.

First things first . . . I open my emails.

I don’t work on a Friday so that means I usually have quite a few messages to catch up with on a Monday morning. We also have a lot of internal messages to look at regarding schedules, sales etc. Then it’s on to our weekly office meeting and review of that week’s issue.

This is not only a chance to go through the content, but say hello to the rest of the PF team. That’s quickly followed by a Digital meeting as we go over website and social media content and make plans for the week ahead.

Then it’s usually on to one of the best parts of the job . . . artwork briefs! Alan will have collated all the stories that have been bought the previous week and he divides them between himself, Abbie and I, and I’ll have a look to see if any are needed a little bit quicker due to the season etc.

Some stories are perfect to have a Shutterstock image, while others require a detailed description of a particular scene or mood from the story

. It’s such a lovely thing to do. I attach my artwork brief to the story then upload it to Manon’s folder. Throughout the days ahead, Manon uploads roughs of commissioned artwork for the team to look at and comment on.

Emails and messages galore

Meanwhile there are emails and Teams messages all pinging in!

On a Monday afternoon I like to think of the questions for Tuesday’s #PFWritingHour. Along with that I make sure to share any information about the “Friend” on our Twitter page too. There are always blog posts that help keep everyone up to date about what’s happening.

I add tweets every day so that our followers feel like part of the “Friend” family.

As the week continues I work on my artwork briefs and the reading of manuscripts. I also keep an eye on our Pocket Novels.

They require a real chunk of your time, so I tend to set aside a while and read a few at a time then get them scheduled quite far ahead. There’s a lot of reading in them as they are all around 37,000 words. I also write up their cover artwork briefs for Manon.

Our website

The Fiction team also write a number of blogs for the website so that takes up some of our time, too.

We also get a lot of questions by email or social media regarding writing for the “Friend”.  A huge part of my week is taken up by reading though. If I think a story has potential I put some notes on the manuscript and pop it into Lucy’s relevant folder for her to have a look.

We’re all working behind the scenes on the weekly, Specials, Pocket Novels (me), annual and any projects that are on the go.

The day really does fly by and I’m fuelled by gallons of tea and Scala Radio!

We regularly check in with each other too. The Fiction team are a close bunch and I don’t think I could have got through the past year without the support, laughs and friendship of my team.

Keeping on top of admin

The ultimate “behind the scenes” task!

When a story is given the thumbs up, I have the admin to do for it. This means contacting the author, filling out a payment form and making up a virtual story card so that we know everything about the story.

I also have my designated day of the week to read the unsolicited manuscripts that now come into our “Friend Fiction” folder. We have been thrilled by some of the brilliant stories we’ve read so far.

Stories, serials and soaps

All the team have a number of authors writing serials, so there’s a lot of reading and collaborating that goes on there too. Meanwhile, emails and messages on Teams are still pinging in!

On a Thursday Glenda Young will send me the next Riverside instalment, and that’s always a treat. I read that then send it over to Lucy to let her have a look.

Before we know it it’s time for our Friday Fiction Catch-Up. Then we breath out and get ready to do it all again the following week!

Read Fiction Ed Lucy’s blog from behind the scenes.

Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, Tracey has found her perfect place on The Friend as she’s obsessed with reading and never goes anywhere without a book! She reads all the PF stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!