Prioritising in a Publishing: Trade, Impact, and Monograph

Working in publishing can feel a little like spinning plates. You’re madly dashing from plate to plate trying to keep them all in the air with some plates needing more attention than others, and learning which plates need that extra tlc is a very important part of the job.

I’m going to be making this post into two parts, due to the fact that the length is getting rather out of hand. We’ll use this first one to explain how publishing helps me decide what to prioritise using examples from the wonderful Oxford University Press, who publish around 6000 titles a year across Academic, Education, and English Language Teaching. This means that as marketers we have to know where to put our money and which audiences to target when we spend it, and how to correctly harness the free channels that we use to get our books seen by the right audience. With academic publishing your looking at a much smaller marketing budget, or no budget at all for some books so harnessing organic social media reach and email is vital.

Fortunately, in Academic at least, they’ll tell you which books you should be spending time on and pushing to your audience. These classifications have names, Trade, Impact, and Monograph, and we use them to explain what market we’re aiming for when we’re marketing the book e.g. monographs are usually bought by libraries and researchers rather than the general consumer. I’m going to try my best to explain how we use these classifications in my department, and give you just a few examples of each book to shed a little light on academic marketing.

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Work in Publishing Week: My Favourite Posts

Hello! So I managed to read some and watch some of the absolutely fabulous content that appeared this Work in Publishing Week, and I really wanted to have somewhere to store these helpful posts. Obviously I’d like to shout out the Publishers Association who shared so many interesting things, but also The Publishing Post whose newsletter has become an entry level essential read.

As Always before we get to everyone else’s fabulous posts, here’s some links to mine:

Work Experience Diaries:
Inside Story | Vintage | Seren | University Wales Press 
First Month Publishing Update | Three Month Publishing Update
Six Month Publishing Update | One Year Publishing Update 
When to Quit: Publishing Update | Two Years in Publishing 
Publishing Editions: 
Publishing Skills | Dealing with Rejection
Remote Interviews | SYP Podcast ft. Me | Making a Sideways Move
Imposter Syndrome | Q&A video with Me

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Remote Interviews: Publishing Edition

I’ve tackled quite a few remote interviews in my time and they can feel pretty strange, an interview can be nerve-wracking enough without having to rely on technology. Interviews through a computer screen are the new normal for most of us, and before COVID I had only tackled one myself for the role I currently work in. It was a weird experience, our camera’s both cut out about ten minutes in and we we’re both stuck talking to a black computer screen. It’s worth mentioning that for quite a few hiring managers this is new too, and most of my interviews have opened with a conversation about how strange it is to not be meeting face to face!

My hope with this post is not to give you tips to help you land that sweet new role, as there are definitely people doing that better than I ever could, but instead I’m going to tell you how I prep for an interview with a camera instead of a human.

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Two Years in Publishing

So if you’ve followed along with these publishing posts about my little career journey you’ll know that I posted one called When to Quit two months ago, it was a difficult but important update, and I don’t normally do this but you should consider reading it before this one. It’s been an undeniably weird time and my plans were all but crushed because of it, but I was incredibly lucky that the ability to work from home wildly changed my circumstances and allowed me to stick around.

This does mean that I’ve given up my flat in Oxford, and am currently living and working back in Wales which has been a little strange! But I wanted to throw together some cute pictures of a few of my adventures in Oxford:

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Put Salaries on Your Job Ads: An Angry Letter.

Are you a publisher, then I have a question, why the heck are we still advertising jobs without salaries? What do you truly gain from writing competitive instead? I genuinely want to know.

Not advertising a salary is so, so, limiting for candidates. I need to know how much money I’ll be making to live, to decide whether a job is worth picking my whole life up and moving for, and I want to know it before I’ve invested time and money interviewing for you. Traveling for an interview is expensive, prepping for an interview is time-intensive, but I’m expected to take a punt on a job that can’t even tell me something so essential.

Continue reading “Put Salaries on Your Job Ads: An Angry Letter.”

Dealing With Rejection: Publishing Edition

Getting that first big break into the industry can feel a lot like climbing Mount Everest, it’s harsh, cold, and if I’m honest kind of isolating. It took me a year to get my Marketing Assistant role at Oxford University Press, after doggedly pursuing a role in trade unsuccessfully, and the relief and excitement I felt when I got the role was immense. Finally it was over, no more spending hours crafting the perfect cover letter with no response from publishers, the door had cracked open for me and I’d slipped through.

This post is partially influenced by this thread on twitter in which, if you don’t fancy clicking on the link, Linked In revealed the amount of “applications” for this Editorial role at Penguin Random House. People reacted really strongly to the thread, and honestly it was shocking to see that nearly 1500 applicants had applied. It’s worth mentioning that this likely reflects the amount of people who have clicked the link and not the amount of applicants, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that there would be at least 500 applications for one job. It’s horrible to see numbers when it comes to applications and it’s definitely unnecessary information that can make you feel like crap, but I still think it’s an important to acknowledge it. If you are applying for a role in publishing, especially in editorial, you’ll always be competing. This role, at Cornerstone, is a dream role for many people and so when applying for one of the big five you should expect competition to be stiff. It’s like applying to Vogue, Nintendo, or Disney, the jobs are always going to be popular and oversubscribed so it’s often perseverance that makes the difference here.

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Upskilling: Publishing Edition

Hello my aspiring publishing professionals! I figured seeing as most publishers are not offering work experience opportunities, and are probably not organising for the future yet, that it’d be great to talk about what I wish I’d known before I started working in this industry. Most of this will likely be geared towards marketing because that’s what I know best, but hopefully you’ll find it useful even if you have no intention of following the path to marketing.

If you have any resources to add please let me know, the more the merrier!!

More Publishing Content from Me
Work Experience Diaries:
Inside Story | Vintage | Seren | University Wales Press 
First Month Publishing Update | Three Month Publishing Update
Six Month Publishing Update | One Year Publishing Update 
When to Quit: Publishing Update | Two Years in Publishing 
Publishing Editions: 
Publishing Skills | Dealing with Rejection | Academic Marketing Assistant
Remote Interviews | SYP Podcast ft. Me | Making a Sideways Move

Continue reading “Upskilling: Publishing Edition”

Academic Marketing Assistant: What do I actually do?

So a similar-sounding post to this one should have come out for #workinpublishing week, but I got the sudden urge to overhaul the concept. I’d planned out a week in the life post, talking about what I’d do in a normal week, and quickly realised that my workload varies so much that the whole post didn’t really work. So instead I’ve decided to lay it all out for you in the form of a big ol’ list. Everyone likes lists…right?

So the role of a marketing assistant definitely comes with a whole load of admin! It’s not the most fun or the most fascinating work, but it is the most important. This list here is my weekly reoccurring tasks that keep the department moving:

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My First Year in Publishing!

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.

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Work Experience Diaries!

Part Four: University Wales Press

Wow so it’s been a little while since I wrote my last post about my publishing work experience, but I’ve been more than a little sad when it comes to writing this one. UWP was my last placement and my longest (I was there for seven months), it’s probably what got me my current job and I’ll always be grateful to them for that.

So first things first, this placement was unpaid. I did two days a week and they were very flexible with me, but at the end of the day, seven months unpaid is seven months unpaid. I could work this placement around my part-time job, and it was only twenty minutes away from my home in Wales, so this worked well for me at the time. UWP is a small not for profit academic publisher so I understand why the couldn’t pay me, but I wouldn’t do this placement unless you’re a student at Cardiff University or local to the office!

I worked with the Marketing and Sales team, who were absolutely lovely, and I ended up doing a lot of admin while I was there. I pulled together review lists, dealt with mailouts and a franking machine, and at one point reorganised their library and stock room! It was a lot of grunt work but alongside this I got to write press releases, format marketing plans, and use different publishing applications. It was all really valuable experience and made up for my lack of an admin role when I applied for my job at OUP.

I really felt like I was taking steps forward at this placement, and they gave me more responsibility towards the end which was lovely. I got to take creative responsibility for certain things, and they treated me like I was part of the team which was wonderful! The one thing I will say is I think this role would be more valuable for a Welsh speaker, as not only do they publish a lot of Welsh language literature, they also more often than not speak Welsh in the office.

I definitely think I got some of my most valuable publishing experience from this placement, and I would do it again in a heart beat! I’d highly recommend finding a flexible placement like this if you’re currently a student, it’ll give you valuable experience leaving university and give you a leg up in the industry!

Go look at their lovely academic books: University Wales Press
Check out their fabulous tweets: University Wales Press

My Other Work Experience Posts:

Inside Story | Vintage | Seren |Work Experience Master-post