My Job In 5: Tara Al Azzawi, marketing manager, 4th Estate and William Collins

My Job In 5: Tara Al Azzawi, marketing manager, 4th Estate and William Collins

Describe your role.

In essence, it’s all about getting our books into the hands of readers, by devising stellar campaigns that could include partnerships, events, designing ads and proofs, email, blogging, social media and pitching for retail support.

What do you like best about your role?

The variety, for sure. In a week I can be working on campaigns from Hilary Mantel to Sali Hughes, Lena Dunham to Max Hastings. But therein, of course, lies the challenge. There’s a new direction for every book, hence our emphasis on branding and community building, creating advocates who can vouch for the quality of our whole list.

What new projects and titles are you working on?

I’m very excited about the upcoming The Portable Veblen, about love, marriage, compromise, hypochondriac parents and also a squirrel who
may or may not be stalking the protagonist. Next year also sees the return of one of my favourite authors, Annie Proulx, with her magnum opus Barkskins. Other than books, I’m part of the HarperCollins Diversity Forum, and we have some great initiatives in the works for 2016.

Tell us how you got into publishing.

I started actual work in 2011, on the HarperCollins Graduate Scheme, and before that I did two weeks of work experience at Vintage. I also worked at Waterstones (invaluable) and volunteered with a short-story press in my hometown, Manchester.

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

Be creative: particularly in literary fiction, with small budgets where you have to break a book without a flashy Underground poster campaign. Be a team player: marketing intersects with so many divisions and you won’t last long with a bad attitude. Be interested in people: how they consume content and receive information.