I’ve been agonizing over this post for well over a month now. My one year anniversary came and went like the wind, and if I’m honest I’m still having trouble writing this. Since I last wrote one of these six months ago my job role has changed drastically, and mostly for the best, but trying to decide whether or not to be negative in this post has been hard. I’ve tried very hard to be honest about this industry, and I don’t want to stop now, so here’s my frank take on my first year in publishing…warts and all.
Publishing has not been all sunshine and roses for me. I am lucky, I work with a wonderfully supportive team, and a manager that genuinely cares about my development and happiness. My manager has actually said that if she ever catches me doing overtime she’ll unplug my computer, it has been an absolute joy to work with these wonderful people.
On the other hand I spent the first seven months cleaning up the messes of those who had come before me. Sorting backlogs, covering sickness, and general grunt work that would have driven even the best intern mad (and I wasn’t even an intern). I thought I was leaving behind my past as an intern but instead it continued into my role. My head still spins at the thought of all that admin, but unfortunately someone had to do it. These past few months have taught me that publishing can be such a rewarding industry, but like with all jobs, it comes with a whole lot of work.
The admin that comes with publishing hadn’t even crossed my mind when I started looking for roles, and when we first started on the project I had no idea of the behemoth that I was facing down. I didn’t want to go to work and stare vacantly at more excel spreadsheets, but this was supposed to be my dream job and so I pushed on. During this period the marketing assistant I started with took nearly three months off sick and eventually left, I ended up picking up a lot of the slack and my job got very intense. It was difficult, but this start taught me that even dream jobs have their ups and downs, and it’s important to acknowledge them when they happen.
I’m always infinitely glad that we’ve had a new marketing assistant, and her start in the role has been completely different to mine. It’s good to know that my first months in the industry were an anomaly and not the usual, but it felt like lying to not mention how I’ve been feeling. I’ve always tried to be honest when it comes to the publishing industry, and I didn’t want to sacrifice that.
There are so many wonderful parts to my role though, and my job has transformed over the past few months. I asked my manager for more career development opportunities and she came through in spades. I took on two new projects in the past few months. They’re long form and I’m running them alongside all of my usual work.
They’re both very stats based so it soothes my marketing heart. One involves my introduction of the #OnThisDay tag onto one of our twitter channels, and how we can use its popularity to better market our products. I unfortunately can’t really talk too much about the other one, as well it’s private publishing business, but I’m really enjoying having the freedom to experiment with some bits and bobs.
I went to my first academic conference in July. It was only in Oxford so no travel for me, but it was great to meet some of the academics who actually use our books. It was actually really cool to see how commissioning is done at conferences, and it was wonderful to get a peek into editorial.
I’ve also been doing more design that you can shake a stick at. Flyers? I’ve made ’em, journal ads? designed them from scratch, and 3D book covers? know them like the back of my hand. I feel like I have such a sturdy grasp on InDesign and Photoshop as marketing tools now, it has been so good to be able to look at adobe without running screaming from the room.
Pooling the marketing assistants together has given me the opportunity to work cross discipline, and let me take on even more cool things. I now work on Law and Social Sciences, as well as all of my Humanities subjects. It’s allowed me to stretch my coding skills on their different online products, and let me work on a twitter channel that has to take a completely different tone to my regular gig over on OUP Philosophy.
My first year in publishing has been filled with challenges and personal development. No matter how I started my role I’ll be leaving it as a better marketer, and with more publishing knowledge than you can fit in a bag of holding.
Until next year ❤