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Workplaces: Lyudmila Sarycheva, editor and publisher of Dela Modulbank
Workplaces: Lyudmila Sarycheva, editor and publisher of Dela Modulbank

About working with text, negative comments and family.

Workplaces: Lyudmila Sarycheva, editor and publisher of Dela Modulbank
Workplaces: Lyudmila Sarycheva, editor and publisher of Dela Modulbank

“After a few years, you see your old text and you realize how wretched it is”: about cool editors, “Write, cut down” and Maxim Ilyakhov

Many people know you as the co-author of the cult book "Write, Cut", which you wrote with Maxim Ilyakhov. How did you meet and start working together?

- Even before we met, I followed Maxim for over a year: I read his advice and commented on the blog. At that moment I was working at Citibank, doing internal mailing and looking for a job as a copywriter. True, unsuccessfully: I was refused by the publishing house "MYTH" and not only it.

Once I saw that Maxim was looking for an assistant in Megaplan. I sent him a letter, and the next day I went to the hairdresser and updated my mail every minute, hoping to get an answer. In the end, it turned out to be positive, but I did not tell anyone about it, because I could not believe it.

I still don't understand how this could have happened: no one wanted to hire me, and Maxim Ilyakhov, whom I followed for a year and a half, did it after just one letter. Since then, this union began.

Are there points in the book that cause controversy?

- The book is a common product, we have no controversy over it, but there are moments in the editing in which we do not agree.

Which for example?

Maxim promotes the theory that the success of any publication is due to the mortal sin on which it is based. For example, people read Tinkoff magazine because they want to be rich (love of money), and Lifehacker because they want to be better than others (pride). Sounds cool and fun, but I don't support the idea. It seems to me that it simplifies everything too much: people are more complex, contradictory and interesting.

At what point did you realize that you want to work with text?

- I studied to be a culturologist, but in my last years I worked as a journalist: on television and in the Ryazan newspaper Meshcherskaya Storona. At Citibank, I started compiling a mailing list and started the Kompotik blog around the same time, because I loved writing. I don’t remember the moment when editing and working with text would not be interesting to me, so my hobby organically poured into the profession.

What did you read to improve the editor's skill?

- The same books as everyone else: "How to write well" by William Zinser, "Applied Journalism" by Sergei Kolesnichenko and a book by Sasha Karepina about business correspondence. I tried to study everything I met on the boards of editors and copywriters. And not only about the editing of the text, but also, for example, about public speaking.

Many have read "Write, cut short" and began to imagine themselves as editors. Is one book enough to become a pro?

- Of course not. But it is quite natural that after learning something new, a person thinks that he is already ready for anything. I went through this when I worked as a journalist: I saw praise from readers and decided that there was no one cooler than me. This state passes when, after a few years, you read your old text and realize how wretched it is.

I do not see anything wrong with the fact that people after reading "Write, cut down" began to consider themselves cool editors - this is how it should be. If they have not yet become one, they will, and this period is the normal stage of development in the profession.

In your opinion, what is a good editor?

- He can make a serious decision about the future fate of the material if it does not fit into the format of the publication. A good editor will find a way out and still put out cool text instead of stuffing the material into the usual frames. In addition, this is a person who knows how to make decisions without someone's advice. He independently tries to do something, evaluates the result and draws conclusions.

When someone from my team comes with a question, sometimes I do not answer, but say: "Make a decision yourself as an editor." This greatly improves my professionalism and makes my work easier in the future. The first time the solution will not be very good, the second time, but the third time it will be great.

It's also great when editors know different tools: they can typeset pages in HTML and memos in Adobe InDesign. This is not necessary if the publisher has a proofreader, designer and layout designer, but when the editor works alone, it is very promoting the business.

You said that a good editor can make difficult decisions on his own. What's the hardest decision you've made?

- I don't remember, to be honest. Two months ago, I changed the position of editor-in-chief to the publisher of Dela Modulbank, and all the past difficulties turned out to be complete nonsense. Previously, my tasks included checking content for quality, creating an editorial policy and organizing editorial processes. Now the work has changed to managerial work: you need to cooperate with each other a marketer, analyst, designers, developers, editorial staff, distribute tasks to everyone, track the result everywhere, correctly distribute the budget and achieve business performance. To put one subscription form on the site, it is necessary that the designer draws it, the developer implements it, and the analyst adds the event to the "Metric" and starts tracking.

It is necessary to organize a whole colossus and do everything to make it work correctly. Much remains to be redone and reinvented. This work is exhausting much more than the duties of the editor-in-chief.

Lyudmila Sarycheva at the conference Marketing, Edutainment, Humor
Lyudmila Sarycheva at the conference Marketing, Edutainment, Humor

Why did you change your position?

- Our publication is two years old, and one and a half of them there was no person responsible for distribution. We released two articles a week, posted articles on social networks, and traffic accumulated on its own.

Then the marketing director appeared, but in six months it became clear that we had not worked together: the outsider does not understand the boundaries and does not know how we relate to the reader. For a month I thought about who should be responsible for distribution, and I realized that only I myself know what we live by, how we position ourselves and what we consider to be really important.

In addition, I hired almost the entire team, so the employees are loyal to me. When the director came and said that it was necessary to launch a banner with a subscription, everyone said: "Pf-f-f, we are not like that!" And when I come up with the same idea, everyone is like, "Oh, come on, what do you need from us?" I can break the rules, and everyone will take it adequately.

In a new position it is very interesting - this is a new round in development.

I have never done distribution before, so I am attached to questions to all the acquaintances and even strangers who understand this. This is the difference between a publisher and an editor-in-chief. The latter can work on its own, come up with copyright methods and move its own way, and the publisher cannot become a professional if he does not communicate with people. It seems to me that without interaction with colleagues in this area it is generally impossible to develop.

With whom do you usually consult and who do you learn from?

- I do not learn much in terms of editing, but I am developing as an entrepreneur. For example, the co-owner of Modulbank, Yakov Novikov, is very cool in putting my brains in place. I also look for different solutions from other publications. Suppose I see that Lifehacker publishes the most popular articles of the week, and I ask Rodion Scriabin why you are doing this and how it works. I come with questions to Sasha Raya, recently met with Misha Kafanov, asked about social networks. And everyone responds to requests and shares their experience, it's very nice. We implemented several things from those that were advised to me and got the result.

How to understand that you write well? Does this feeling ever come around?

- I still do not understand it. There is a feeling that at the moment I have done the work to the maximum, but I do not indulge myself with the illusion that it is done perfectly. Surely someone will come and be able to improve everything. Or I myself will look in a year and find how to improve the result.

The Washington Post and Esquire publish very cool stories, and I want to be able to write the same way, but I understand that I will not be able to pull this level in the next couple of years. Such materials are related to communication with people: you need to interview 20 people to collect one strong report. I don’t know when I’ll be able to do something like that, but I read and understand that my job is kindergarten compared to what people who receive the Pulitzer Prize do.

I think the main thing is to keep learning: to practice writing, to read good books.

Moreover, you need to read books not only on editing, but also fiction. It also helps to watch good films and take them apart: think about the motives of the characters, study conflicts in the plot and look for deep ideas. The solutions you find in other areas fall on the editorial work. This is very enriching for the future result.

"Stop talking about how good you are an editor": on working on weekends and earning money from texts

Is it possible to make money on text in Russia? How much did you get maximum for one material?

- It seems to me that it is difficult to make money on one text, but you can get good money for a product and service. I never make money from writing and I do not undertake such work. I always provide a service: I offer the best solution, find resources for it, plan deadlines and kick everyone to get the result. When a task becomes overgrown with service, you can charge fifty or two hundred thousand for it, because this removes a huge headache from the client.

But if you need an example of a specific simple task, then about three years ago I made a page for one product. There was no service there, and it was not needed there. I wrote the text, made up a static page in HTML and took 25,000 rubles for my work. This page was rough to pass on to designers and layout designers, but it was decent, it could be taken and published, and it took two weeks to get it done. Now I do not undertake such tasks.

If you could give only one piece of advice that would definitely help you in working on the text, how would it sound?

- My advice is not to compare yourself with others: listen to yourself and go only your own way. Do not think that if someone succeeds in something the first time, then you should. No, sometimes you need more attempts, and sometimes it may not work at all. It's not scary, you have to go through and move on, everyone has their own path.

If someone succeeds ten projects, this does not mean that everyone should be able to do so. Someone will work on one, and it is a joy to him. And this is the main thing.

All people are different. Someone likes to work in the office, someone from home; someone works 12 hours a day, while someone is productive only four hours a day; someone is okay with criticism, and someone is worried. Therefore, you do not need to try to be like someone else, you need to focus only on yourself and rejoice at your successes, even if in the eyes of others these successes are modest.

Stop talking about how good an editor you are and which peers do better
Stop talking about how good an editor you are and which peers do better

You are working on several projects at the same time. How do you manage to keep up with everything?

- I am recruiting so many projects that I have no opportunity to free it. Work starts at 7:00 and ends at 13:00, and then I do household chores and spend time with the child. I can get another two or three hours at night or during the day, while Varya is asleep. If I took on a project, then I have to complete it, so I try to correctly distribute the work.

When I have time, I begin to suffer and delve into myself, so I just don't give myself that opportunity.

It helps a lot that I have a great team in Delo, in which everything has already been worked out. I can have no control: editors write articles themselves, draw up an editorial plan, distribute topics among themselves and find experts. I only check drafts before going public, and they tend to be very good writing. As a publisher, I constantly call someone, and I also follow analytics and boards on Trello.

It is easy for me to plan at Modulbank, because everyone adapts to me. If I cannot speak after 13:00, then they call me at a convenient time, and the editors themselves kick in order for me to check the article. I am required to have a minimum of control over the processes in the editorial office, and it is quite easy to fit the managerial work into my schedule.

In addition, I have experience, so I understand how long this or that task will take. Usually everything is the same, so I can plan a week in advance and have time for everything. In addition, I also spend time on Facebook and Instagram. In general, I'm not that efficient - you can be more disciplined.

You never work on weekends or take on urgent tasks that someone unexpectedly asks to complete. How do you manage to adhere to these rules with such a volume of work?

- I worked at Modulbank and formed these rules when they began to write to me on weekends. I realized that this was annoying me, but there weren't enough steel balls to say this directly. Then I went and wrote a post on my blog. Everyone read it and abruptly stopped writing to me on weekends. It's easier, of course, to discuss these issues in person, but in my case the method worked well.

On weekends, I go about my projects: doing a course, writing a book. True, now everything I'm working on is terribly interesting to me, so sometimes I can take up commerce, but I don't communicate with any of my colleagues and I don't agree on anything.

What does your workplace look like?

- I live in two cities: Ryazan and Moscow. In Ryazan, I work in my sister's apartment, and in Moscow, in a personal place in a coworking space, which is 10 minutes from home. There I placed a large monitor that I connect to my laptop to edit articles, as well as a keyboard and mouse. There is also a bottle of water and all sorts of little things on the table.

Workplace of Lyudmila Sarycheva
Workplace of Lyudmila Sarycheva

When it comes to online workspace, the Wunderlist is the one I use the most. In it I keep extended to-do lists by day of the week. Articles are sent here for review, and I mark them with a tick as soon as I have edited them. I also have a few development, design and marketing boards on Trello, and all the rest of the work on Telegram. There are many chats in different directions, where we discuss current tasks for projects.

"Good comments are not written, but bad comments always appear": on working principles and a new book

Many authors are bombarded with comments in the spirit of "author moron", but you take them completely calmly. How do you deal with criticism?

- I'm used to not writing good comments, but bad ones always appearing. There is a girl on Facebook who came to my page and tried to pry with phrases from the category "You will never catch up with Ilyakhov."

Maybe a year ago I would have been indignant, but now I have grown thick skin and do not pay attention.

However, then I still blocked the commentator. She wrote three times and did not hurt me, but suddenly she writes something really unpleasant for the fourth time. I will not be able to delete the comment, because I consider it a weakness - I will look at it and freak out. It's easier to block a person and not waste your nerves.

In principle, there is little reasonable in the comments. If a person wants to help or point out a mistake, he will share his point of view and arguments in private messages. It seems to me unethical to sort out the comments - I don't do that.

It is best to answer an offensive comment with questions. For example, a person says that the article is complete nonsense, and you specify: "Why?" Most often, after this, people merge, because the only thing they wanted was to sketch and amuse their pride. Most likely, the person does not understand the topic, so it becomes clear: you should not react to such comments.

Which comment touched you the most?

- I remember how Maxim Ilyakhov left "Megaplan" and I alone wrote the mailing lists. After one of them, someone said: "Fire Luda Sarycheva: the mailings have become too female." It hurt me and really pissed me off. This is generally sexism. That was four years ago, and since then there have probably been other comments that upset me, but I don't remember them.

Now it’s pretty hard to hurt me. There are about 50 comments under the MEH talk, but I read and laugh at them. It seems to me that calmness comes with experience: first you get mad, and then you stop paying attention.

Your new book is coming out soon. What will it be about?

- Do you have any information when it comes out? Share, otherwise I do not. But the book will be, it's about the drama in the informational text. We have already written how to make text structured, understandable and full of meaning, and now I will tell you how to make it unexpected and interesting. And it doesn't matter what kind of text it will be: a post on social networks or a long article.

Hopefully I can finish the book by the end of the year, but there is no exact timeline yet.

You are a mother and at the same time a rather strict leader who knows exactly what he wants and does not stand on ceremony with employees. How do you combine these roles?

- I do not stand on ceremony, but it has nothing to do with my personal relationship to a person. I can swear in the comments to the article, and after five minutes come to the editor in the chat and have a very good conversation in person. I constantly ask everyone: “You seem to be tired. Maybe a day off? How can I help you? Do you want this task to be postponed? " In general, I am terribly caring and take out my maternal instincts on the editors.

It pisses me off the most when I correct a mistake a hundred times, and it still appears in the drafts. It pisses me off. True, now I try to be more tactful and delicate. It's better to spend time explaining than swearing.

As a mother, I am also quite strict. The daughter is one and a half years old, and this is the greatest happiness and love in the world, but if she scattered toys, she will collect them herself. I try to show concern, but at the same time remain strict where it is needed. This approach works both in the family and at work.

Certificates and poster of the Glavred course
Certificates and poster of the Glavred course

What did you have to give up with the birth of a child?

- From a lot. When there is a child, you cannot take off and go anywhere, because you are guided by him. Despite this, we began to regularly travel to Moscow when Vara was six months old, so I will not say that we have been adjusting to her all our lives.

This year I refuse all speeches and corporate trainings, because now there is little time, and this activity is at the expense of family and projects. Now I will not go to give a lecture in Yekaterinburg, because I do not want to leave my family. At the same time, I can say with absolute certainty that this is the right thing.

A child is a hundred times cooler than performing in any city. Even if I am called to London and I have to refuse, I will not be upset.

Don't you think that all this slows down your career?

- This is true. It saves me that my husband and I share family responsibilities in half and we both have the same time to work. Children are a lot of work, which often knocks them out of their careers and life in general. I'm just lucky that everything turned out differently for us.

I heard that 15 minutes after giving birth, you already answered in work chats. Do you have free time at all?

- It depends on what is considered free time. My family takes my time without work. I also go to the gym, meet my sisters, visit my parents, and sometimes I go out to hang out with someone.

I consider free time when you are just lying on the couch, and this is awesome. But with a child, there are much fewer opportunities to do this. I don’t watch movies now, but I’m putting together a list, and it’s accumulating.

Life hacking from Lyudmila Sarycheva


I will name what influenced me and that I have not mentioned anywhere else (it seems). I love books that reveal some non-obvious cause-and-effect relationship.

  • Dan Ariely, Predictable Irrationality is about how people make decisions and why it's almost always irrational.
  • Stephen Levitt, Stephen Dubner "Freakonomics" - the book shows that the causes of various phenomena are much deeper and more interesting than they seem at first glance.
  • Michael Lewis The Big Bearing is a book on the causes of the 2008 economic crisis. Tedious, full of economic terms, but exciting with all this revealing of non-obvious reasons. And it also has interesting controversial characters. I first watched the film and then read the book. Both are very worthy.

In these three books, I like that they were written by real scientists, and this is noticeable in the depth of the material.

Films and series

For the last year and a half, I hardly watch movies and TV shows: there is no time. And so I like many pictures, but when asked to name something, I always remember The Godfather.

I've watched it many times. At first in childhood, his dad loves him very much. Then she herself, in adulthood, with a different understanding of what is happening. I looked in Russian, in English, then again in Russian. I do not know of a film with such strong drama, conflicts, hero evolution. And the ending is the quintessence of pain, guilt, horror, retribution.

Blogs and Websites

I have a paid subscription to Republic to keep track of the agenda. Every morning they send me a list of articles, and I choose from them what to read. The news that scientists have found the cause of Alzheimer's, I prefer any political news.

In Telegram I read "", "", "" and all kinds of channels about laws and business. But the most useful for me is the channel, because they write about everything there: memes, politics, the news of the day. Recently I read the news, and we quickly made a situational post on it. But the main thing is that you can read TJ without going to the site and be aware of what is happening.

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