My Job in 5: Mari Gordon

My Job in 5: Mari Gordon

Describe your role
I’m a one-person publishing house. I’m responsible for strategicpublishing issues, as well as managing the production of our books.I’m also a sort of editor-in-chief, looking after our house style and the language aspects of our branding—things like accessibility and tone of voice. We work in two languages, Welsh and English, which makes my work even more interesting. There’s twice the language to play with!

What do you like best about your role?
I think publishing’s the most creative job there is. I gather words and images and, working with authors and designers, produce something tangible. We aim to create books that are both informative and pleasurable. I love the fact that we produce something that will, hopefully, be enjoyed by countless people for years to come. I like that, and the smell of new print!

Which new projects or titles are you working on at the moment?
Two very different projects. One is the catalogue for an exhibition celebrating the huge influence of Japanese design. Every day I’m looking at stunning images of beautiful kimonos, ceramics and hand-painted scrolls. I’m also producing a brand new visitor guidebook for one of our museums, St Fagans National Museum of History, in Cardiff. It’s one of Wales’ best-loved attractions, so it’s exciting to produce something fresh and new for our visitors.

What skills do you need for your role?
Expectation management. I wish I could remember who described publishing as a series of one-night stands. . . you get totally immersed in a project, then it’s finished and you move on to the next. I have to respect the passion of authors, while at the same time managing their expectations. No matter how exciting their project, the priority is getting a commercial book out, on budget and on time.

What advice would you give to those looking to work in the industry?
The great thing about publishing is there is room for so many skill sets. Try to decide which is yours and what you love doing. You could look at the editorial side, which in itself ranges from project management to proofreading, or focus on marketing and PR. After all, there’s no point publishing books unless people know they exist! Whatever you do, good luck, and enjoy—like I said, it’s the most creative job in the world!