Describe your role
My job is to look for exciting new titles and authors for our YA imprint Ink Road, working closely with publishing director Alison McBride and the Black & White team. This includes looking through and assessing submissions and requesting material from agents, and pitching to the team. Once we’ve agreed to take on a title, we move on to the various stages of editorial, covers, liaising with authors and generally getting ready for publication.
What do you like best about your role?
There’s a certain giddy excitement that comes with finding a book you know you want to take on, then pitching it to the team and getting a great reaction. Meeting authors is always fantastic, and I’m passionate about the early structural stages of editorial, when you can get your teeth into a manuscript. I also especially enjoy working on the cover designs—there’s no better feeling than when we get a cover that perfectly encapsulates the book. But it’s also very rewarding when you hear positive responses from readers.
Which new projects or titles are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on a title called Dare to Fall, the first stand-alone by our teen author Estelle Maskame, and we’re about to proof a beautiful début novel called T is for Tree. Ink Road’s first two titles are out in the next few weeks and my focus is now on finding great new titles for 2018.
What skills do you need for your role?
A real passion for reading is essential—there’s a lot of it! A keen eye for detail, self-motivation and a good understanding of the market are also key. You need to be relentlessly passionate about your projects: trust your instincts, have high standards and really love the books you’re working on.
What advice would you give to those looking to work in the industry?
Do your utmost to be in the right place at the right time: research which publishers offer work experience (and send lots of emails). Get as much experience as you can, say “yes” as much as you possibly can, make a positive impression—ask questions, offer to do extra, be obviously enthusiastic— research the market and the company. And join the Society of Young Publishers!