Meet Editor Sheila Seifert!
Personal website: Sheila Seifert
Featured Publisher: Focus on Your Child parenting newsletters
Q: Describe a typical workweek for you as an editor.
A: I usually enter my cubicle by 7:30 each morning and leave by 5:30 each night. Depending on the deadline rotation for issues, I will plan future content (6 to 9 months out), work on present issues (2 to 5 months out) and disseminate information from past issues (those that are actually going out to readers). I attend meetings to coordinate my material with other Focus on the Family products, edit raw copy to galleys and play with ideas that will improve each publication. I also interact with authors and sources (averaging 40 to 100 e-mails a day) and supervise the other editors working on the Focus on Your Child (FOYC) newsletters. The FOYC designer and I work closely together to make articles fit in each issue (which is a lot of fun for those of us who enjoy puzzles). Finally, I review submissions and accept/reject them.
Q: Do you also enjoy writing your own manuscripts in the midst of editing everyone else’s?
A: Yes, I do quite a bit of freelance writing. I worked as a freelance writer for over 20 years before becoming an editor. I have authored or co-authored over 20 books and have over 1,000 freelance sales (all before becoming an editor). Now, in my free time, I work on writing scripts and novels. I write little nonfiction in my free time—saving that area for my job.
Q: What hobbies do you like to do?
A: It’s not really a hobby, but I also teach various college courses in composition, creative writing and literature for local colleges, and have done this part-time for about 20 years. I enjoy the interaction with students.
Q: Share one tip you’d like to give about writing for periodicals.
A: When an editor says she wants a 350-word, profile article, give her what she asks for—not a 1,200-word devotion that you think she will like better. Also remember that her concern is for the overall feel of the entire publication, not just your article. If your article is changed or edited, it’s rearranged for a purpose. Her job is to make you look better in context of her publication and before her readership.