Last night we held our first ever Introduction to Children’s Publishing event – it was a fantastically fun and interactive evening, filled with insider hints, tips and a comprehensive overview of working in children’s publishing!
The event was a free, ticketed event, designed for people who are interested in working in children’s publishing – no prior knowledge or experience necessary. We also partnered with The Book Trade Charity who was able to offer financial assistance for those who would need it to travel to the event.
The event began with a brilliant introduction from Nosy Crow’s Managing Director, Kate Wilson, who spoke on her own experiences in publishing, as well as her passion for children’s publishing, and the state of the industry.
“The point of this evening is to make it clear how many ways into children’s publishing there are, and how wide a range of skills are needed.”– Kate Wilson
Then we broke into small groups to get an in-depth look at different departments, with representatives from Editorial, Marketing, Production, Publicity, Rights, and Sales, who gave a brief overview of what their job entails and answered questions. We asked each of our departmental representatives to highlight a key question that they were asked. Here are their picks below (and more importantly – their answers)!
Rachel Kellehar, Head of Non-Fiction (Editorial)
Question: How did you stay motivated to get your first job in editorial?
Answer: I was offered the chance to interview for a promotion and a permanent contract at the publisher where I was working in production. I knew that the further I progressed down a production career path, the harder it would be to go back to being in a very junior role (which would also involve taking a substantial pay cut). To stay motivated, I turned down the offer to interview for the more senior production job and stayed on a temporary rolling contract, to motivate myself to keep searching for the right editorial position for me. Working in production was an incredibly valuable experience and I could have very happily built a career in that area, but deep down I knew my heart lay in editorial, and I didn’t want to give up on that dream.
Hester Seddon, Senior Marketing Executive
Question: What’s your average day like?
Answer: Usually my days are quite varied, depending on what projects I’m currently working on. If a catalogue deadline is looming, I might be 100% on the case – checking copy, looking at imagery with the designer, liaising with printers and generally, racing for the finish line! If I’m working on a campaign I’m involved at every stage, from throwing ideas around with the team, planning advertising and researching new partners to creating POS (point-of-sale materials) for retailers and evaluating a campaign’s success.
I usually think of a marketing job as quite ‘behind the scenes’ but there are times when I’ll be popping out of the office to help with events and for external meetings with suppliers and media partners.
It’s a very detail-oriented job – most of the time I’m the last pair of eyes on an advert before it goes to print! It’s also a creative job with plenty of space for trying out new ideas (pin the tail on the unicorn anyone…?) as well as writing engaging copy for a range of audiences (and experimenting with all the worst puns imaginable).
Frances Sleigh, Senior Sales Manager
Question: What’s your favourite moment of your job?
Answer: It’s a classic question and one I LOVE getting asked. For me, the answer is always the buzz of getting confirmation of a sale though. We go to customers and we present our titles; which means we show them samples, we talk about comparative titles and how well they’ve done, we talk about trends in publishing, we get their feedback on what they like/don’t like, we hopefully get an idea of whether or not they’ll buy a title. But it’s only when you finally get the email confirmation through that you can have your ‘YES!’ moment, when you know you’ve done your job well and you’re doing justice to the books that so many people have spent time and energy creating. I always say that if you enjoy selling things on ebay, depop, gumtree or at a car boot sale then sales is for you!
Rebecca Mason, Senior Publicity Executive
Question: What do you like best about working in publicity?
Answer: It’s a bit of a cliché, but every day is different! I love working so closely with our fab team of authors and illustrators and spending time getting to know them and the stories behind their books. Going out to events and festivals is so much fun, not only because it’s a chance to get out of the office and meet new people, but also because you get to see children reacting to Nosy Crow books in the real world. You get to see that child with the dog-eared, scribbled-on copy of the book FINALLY meet the author he loves, and then you get to see another sceptical child convinced to try something new (and enjoy it!). Plus, with whole rooms of kids free to ask any questions, things never get boring…
Michela Pea, Senior Rights Manager
Question: What do you think makes you so successful at book fairs?
Answer: Ultimately, it’s down to our passion for what we are pitching – we love Nosy Crow’s books and our international partners can feel that. Working in the creative, buzzing and sometimes chaotic open space that is the Nosy Crow office means that everyone is somehow aware of what’s going on at any point of the creative process. In most cases, the rights team is familiar with the projects we are taking to a fair long before the event. This close proximity to all our books is something that foreign customers can appreciate.
Arlene Alexander, Senior Production Executive
Question: How does production fit as a department within the publishing house?
Answer: As production is the department that manages the physical assembly of a book, we work with every other department within a publishing company, from design to editorial to sales. We also work with outside suppliers and even foreign co-publishers to produce a fantastic book within budget and on schedule.
Thank you to all who attended!