Martine Allars is Editor of Preschool titles at ACP Magazines, producing both books and magazines for preschoolers. Not only that – she is a yoga instructor, surf lifesaver, tennis player and coach, and children’s author! She certainly packs a lot into her day, but took the time to speak to Career FAQs about the busy life of a magazine editor.
I do bits and pieces of everything really. I do some writing, some subbing, some meetings, some forward planning – basically my job is to make sure that everything in the department runs smoothly and on time. Our team of six produces the magazines Disney Princess and Little Friends, and the Disney Little Library Books series.
The variety and working with the kids’ market. It means that I never take myself too seriously – which is a good thing!
Sometimes, especially before holiday periods, we get a little crazy busy so that’s less than fun … but mostly, what I do is very enjoyable.
It sounds like a stereotype, but I took a year off to write a novel after university and just got bored … and ended up taking a job as an editorial assistant on a magazine.
A friend who worked in the division called me and said I should apply for it. The publisher then called me and we arranged for a low-key lunch meeting in Bondi over the weekend. I didn’t have to provide a CV or plead my case, as the publisher was already aware of my editing credentials. Instead we spoke about the job role and whether I would be interested in taking it.
I did a creative arts degree with scriptwriting as a major, and I did work on the university paper.
I particularly like the kids’ market because it’s so much more real. Kids are direct and no-nonsense and I think that translates in the work that I do, and the working environment we create the magazine in.
I wanted to be either a professional tennis player or a writer. All things considered, I haven’t gone too much off the mark. My first book comes out next year and I still coach and play tennis.
I think everyone that I’ve worked with in the past and present has played a part in making me a better editor. Of all these people though, I would have to name my first editor, Nikki Hodson (now Yatzhi), for showing me the ropes of the industry.
You have to be able to multi-skill, be prepared to work hard and enjoy dealing with people.
There are always roles around if you are prepared to show initiative, work hard and be prepared to start at the bottom.
Offer to work for free, show interest no matter what role you are given and learn as much as you can while you are there. I had one uni grad (now journalist) do work experience every holiday, and after they finished we got them a placement at ACP.
You have to have a balance, nothing in your life can be all one thing or you burn out. I teach and practise yoga, swim, run, surf, cycle – and write books!
My first book comes out in May 2010. It’s a Harry Potter-style book but just for girls. I generally have lots of ideas, but this one stuck with me. I would write every day after work, with a target of 300 words. It wasn’t always an easy process but with hard work it happened. Hopefully it will go down well with little girls everywhere.