Questions for an Editor in Chief: Amy K. Hooper
Amy K. Hooper has been editor in chief at BowTie Inc. since 2007. She began editing as an assistant editor on a trade magazine in 1995, after completing a news journalism degree and a magazine internship.
What do you find satisfying about working as editor in chief?
My job keeps challenging me, given the different products on my plate. I work on a 48-page bimonthly, national, birding magazine called WildBird and its digital elements (including Twitter account @WildBirdmag) largely by myself, so it keeps me grounded while doing assistant-level tasks.
Then I manage two employees on the newsstand-only Popular Series lines: Popular Dogs Series, Popular Birding Series, Popular Farming Series, Popular Gardening Series, Popular Kitchen Series. Those titles range from 96 to 128 pages, and our deadline schedule averages one Popular per month.
It’s impossible to become bored by routines when the topics vary so much and my tasks range from entry-level editorial work to managerial /financial duties. I also enjoy getting to espouse the joys of copyediting to my direct reports and other editors!
What advice would you give other editors interested in magazine editing?
You don’t have to be a niche expert to become a really good editor. You simply have to remain curious.
Any other tips?
Just say no to sloppiness. Indulge in your attention to detail and accuracy, but step back to look at the bigger picture, too. Keep your language/hands-on skills fluid and your industry knowledge current.
What are the weirdest projects you’ve worked on simultaneously or back-to-back?
Recently, the Popular Series team finished “Guide to Chicken Breeds” with 96 breed profiles. About a week later, I shipped a WildBird issue before attending a shooting/hunting/outdoor trade show at which optics companies debut products used by birders. A few days after the trade show, the Popular team shipped “Training Secrets for Labrador Retrievers.” That was one of the odder mixes of subjects within five weeks.
What are some non-editing activities that you find helpful to your work?
Before joining WildBird about 14 years ago, I knew almost nothing about birdwatching but felt curious. Spending time outdoors and increasing my awareness and knowledge of birds and their habitats definitely inform my work on that magazine and its online components. Very cool birding experiences – like finally seeing a Townsend’s Warbler in my home’s yard or spending five days in Costa Rica – help me relate to the magazine’s readers, too.
If you weren't in publishing, what would you like to try as a career?
Tour guide! The combination of travel and education sounds very appealing – educating myself and the tour participants.
Image copyright by and courtesy of BowTie Inc.