Martine Allars - Editor, Preschool titles, ACP Magazines

Martine Allars
'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.'

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.


 

 

What do you do in your day-to-day job as Editor of Preschool titles?

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. 

What do you like most about your job? 

The variety and working with the kids’ market. It means that I never take myself too seriously – which is a good thing!

What do you like least? 

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.

How did you first get into magazine publishing and what other jobs have you had?

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.

How did you get your current job at ACP? 

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.

What did you study at uni and what are your qualifications? 

I did a creative arts degree with scriptwriting as a major, and I did work on the university paper.

What made you decide to pursue this type of work, specifically the kids’ stuff? 

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.

What job did you aspire to when you were a kid?

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.

Have you ever had a mentor?

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.

What qualities and qualifications does a person need to be a magazine editor?

You have to be able to multi-skill, be prepared to work hard and enjoy dealing with people.

What are the prospects for magazine publishing jobs right now? Is it very hard to break into the industry? 

There are always roles around if you are prepared to show initiative, work hard and be prepared to start at the bottom.

What advice can you give to people wanting to get into magazine publishing? What is the best way to get your foot in the door? 

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.

Do you have a good work–life balance? What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

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!

Tell me about your books. When does the first one come out? 

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.


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