My Job In 5: Claire Maxwell, publicity manager, Icon Books

My Job In 5: Claire Maxwell, publicity manager, Icon Books

Describe your role

I am the publicity manager at Icon Books and I spend my days talking to journalists, getting to know our authors, arranging the odd event and tweeting up a storm. In a nutshell, I need to make sure people are talking about our books.

What do you like best about your role?

When I read and adore a book, I get to meet the author and get to know them, and then show them how great their work is by getting the media interested in it. The thrill I get from seeing an interview or review of one of our books in a national newspaper or magazine will never get old.

Which new titles are you working on at the moment?

I am currently working on a beautifully atmospheric portrait of life on London’s canals, Adrift by Helen Babbs, and I am also incredibly excited about a book we have coming out in June, called Man Up: Surviving Modern Masculinity. It’s written by a 23-year-old journalist called Jack Urwin, whose Vice article “A Stiff Upper Lip is Killing British Men” went viral. It is such an important topic and I can’t wait for people to read the book.

What skills from your journalism background have helped you in publishing?

The most useful thing I have been able to bring to my role in publishing is knowing what annoys journalists. We need each other, of course, but I know I’m not going to get the two-page spread I want by ringing them every half hour. Also: deadlines. If you can manage newspaper deadlines, you can manage any deadline.

What advice would you give to those looking to work in the industry?

I didn’t go to university and my advice would be not to go if you don’t feel you want to. You don’t need to, and that’s the point. Publishing is becoming more inclusive towards candidates without degrees, but to be honest I have always found it pretty non-discriminatory. Read loads, start a blog and network, network, network.


Follow us #myjobin5. Questions by Maria Vassilopoulos. If you are working in the industry and would like to appear in this column, please email maria.vassilopoulos@thebookseller.com.