In 2018 our how I got my job posts will have a publishing focus, and every two months we'll be giving you a sneak peek into how people gained their current roles in a range of departments including marketing, publicity, sales, editorial and production - as well as letting you know what an average day looks like, and what they love about their jobs!
So, no more delay - let's start with an introduction to marketing!
Name: Kat McKenna
Job: Senior Marketing Manager at Pan Macmillan
Tell us what you do for a living.
I’m the Senior Marketing Manager in the Children’s Comms team – working on marketing campaigns and strategy for the list across the business but largely focusing on 6+ and YA. This involves a vast range of responsibilities including planning how we want to promote new and backlist titles, working on overarching brand messaging and briefing ad campaigns and their designs. And of course, overseeing our social media.
How did you got about getting your job? What did you do before that?
I got my job at Macmillan in the good old fashioned way – interviewing via a recommendation of a friend. But generally I got into marketing in a more ‘wiggly’ way- I started my role in the sales team ten years ago at another publisher before moving into Comms by expressing a keen interest. It’s always worth telling senior members of staff where your passion lies – you never know where it will get you. Since that move, I’ve taken any and every opportunity (it pays to be a yes person!) and ended up in my dream job.
What does a day in the life of your job look like?
It can really vary: often days are quite packed with meetings, but when I’m not in one of those I’ll either be briefing designers, researching current trends or implementing upcoming book and author campaigns, which might be as far as up to nine months in advance. There’s often rarely a week that goes by without some sort of celebration or event, so there’s lots of prosecco corks popping around me no matter what I’m doing! Publishing is very hard work, but the work is often full of rewards too.
What's your favourite thing about your job?
I absolutely love the creativity of my job. As I said above it is really very hard work, especially as you become more senior, but the fact that I get to work with words and visuals is truly a dream for me. My other favourite thing about working in publishing is that the product we’re promoting comes with a person – the author. It is truly unique to this industry and I find all our authors very inspiring people to be around and to get to know. Genuinely I feel very lucky to know them and help sell their work to the world!
What would be your advice to people aspiring to work in the publishing industry?
My advice would be threefold:
Firstly, don’t give up! Publishing is a competitive industry to get into but the right job will come to you if you are persistent and optimistic.
Secondly, be prepared to work hard. You might not start out in your role in publishing by immediately editing a book, or going out on the road with an author, or planning an exciting launch event but your job will be hugely important and rewarding, especially if you throw yourself into it. All you have to do is hang in there and enjoy the ride.
Thirdly, think about what department you might want to be in, but be open to change. Most people think they want to work as an editor, for example, and can be surprised when won over by other options – this is fine! Publishing is hands down the most brilliant industry, so wherever you end up you’ll love it.