What Does the Editor Do?

I am currently seeking my replacement as the editor of Cockatrice, with the hope of passing on the role by the end of the calendar year. So if you’re curious about what I do, here’s your chance to find out!

What is required to be the Cockatrice editor?

Like all SCA officers, the editor must be over the age of eighteen, a current, paid-up member of the SCA, and have regular internet access. Beyond that, everything is optional. However, because of the nature of the role, it helps if the editor has at least a general familiarity with different kinds of A&S, is a fluent English speaker with a good grasp of different writing and referencing styles, and is comfortable with various forms of online communication (email, website, Facebook, etc).

What does the Cockatrice editor do?

At minimum, the Cockatrice editor should organise and publish an issue of Cockatrice at least once a year (but preferably every three months), and send quarterly reports to the Kingdom Minister of Arts & Sciences. Beyond that minimum, the editor should try to be responsive to emails about possible submissions or subscriptions to the mailing list, maintain the Cockatrice website, and promote Cockatrice throughout the Kingdom. (To make this happen, I chose to establish a Cockatrice Facebook page, which I try to update once a week.)

What is involved in preparing an issue of Cockatrice?

  • I begin advertising the submission deadline two months before the publication date (e.g. for the February 1st edition, I start actively seeking submissions at the beginning of December), and repeat the announcement multiple times, depending on how quickly submissions come in.
  • Each article (on average, a single issue gets five) is copy-edited and formatted in Word, before being compiled into a single document. (I usually use a previous edition as a template, so that the contents page etc remain consistent, and just update the dates written on it where necessary.)
  • Some time after the submission deadline, I do a Facebook post asking for photo submissions, often with some sort of theme. I use these for the cover image and to fill up blank space in between articles. I may re-order the articles a little at this stage, as I play with different layouts.
  • I then create a Contents page, and fill out all the copyright details on the Credits page. (It’s important to collect the mundane names of all submitters in order to be able to fill this out correctly.)
  • Finally, I write a Letter from the Editor summarising the contents of the edition and making any announcements about the publication.
  • At this stage, the document is exported to PDF, and compressed if necessary.
  • I upload this to the Cockatrice website and make a blog post with a list of the articles and a link to the file.
  • I also publish this information on the Lochac mailing list, the Cockatrice Facebook page, the Lochac Facebook group, the Lochac A&S Discussion Facebook group, the Artisans of the SCA Facebook group, and a mailing list of Cockatrice subscribers which is administered through TinyLetter.
  • A copy of all submissions, and the full edition in Word and PDF format, are kept in a Google Drive folder attached to the Cockatrice email account.

Does the Cockatrice editor have any deputies?

Sometimes! Like most officers, it’s a good idea for the editor to establish a drop-dead deputy in case anything goes wrong and someone needs to take over the job in a hurry. In the past, sometimes there has been a deputy specifically to manage the website. It would be plausible to have a deputy for the communication and social media aspects. Ultimately, it’s up to the editor to appoint any deputies they need and work with them to make things happen.

What if I want to change things about Cockatrice?

The Cockatrice editor has historically had a great deal of control over the publication, as it started as a private project. If you want to try something new with Cockatrice, go ahead! During my period as editor, I have:

  • Transitioned from a contacts list of subscribers to distribution via TinyLetter
  • Switched to sharing the edition as a link rather than an attachment or a Dropbox upload 
  • Established a Cockatrice Gmail account so that articles and past editions could be backed up in Google Drive
  • Set up a Facebook page to assist with promotion and distribution
  • Tried to promote a more diverse range of article types
  • Switched from period images as cover pictures and space fillers to photos of people’s work
  • Trialled posting individual articles in blog format on the website
  • Published class handouts from Rowany Festival on the Cockatrice website
  • Included Kingdom A&S Competition results in Cockatrice as a semi-regular feature

I look forward to seeing where the next editor takes things. Certainly, I had hopes to do more with the website than I ever did (I received a lot of feedback asking for publication of articles online outside the PDF format), and there’s a lot of scope for further development of the publication.

How do I apply to be Cockatrice Editor?

The Cockatrice Editor is a deputy of the Kingdom Minister of Arts & Sciences, and is appointed by that officer. To apply, send an email to artsandsciences@lochac.sca.org expressing your interest in the position.

[Note: This FAQ was written in August A.S. 54, by Lady Gwen verch David]