My Job in 5: Sam Humphrey
1. Describe your role
I promote graphic novels - usually around 12 per year - to readers in the UK and North America. My day is as likely to be spent updating our website and posting on social media as it is pitching event ideas to festivals or producing copy for the company catalogue. It’s an incredibly varied and rewarding role, and one that sees me form close relationships with creators, book shops and cultural organisations.
2. What do you like best about your role
I love seeing graphic novels reach those who are new to the medium. Sometimes everything comes together - a great bit of press, a high-profile endorsement, a well-timed event - and a book just takes off. We saw this recently with Reinhard Kleist’s graphic biography Nick Cave: Mercy on Me and Martin Rowson’s adaptation of The Communist Manifesto. Both were bestsellers, and both were embraced by readers who don’t read many - if any - comics.
3. Which new projects or titles are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a campaign for Jérôme Tubiana and Alexandre Franc’s Guantánamo Kid, which tells the harrowing story of Mohammed El-Gharani - one of the youngest people to be held at Guantánamo Bay, and one of the only detainees of African descent. It’s an important story - and it’ll be one of the best we’ve published.
4. What skills do you need for your role?
You need to be able to write clear and persuasive copy, and to be confident using social media platforms and content management systems. An ability to work effectively with all kinds of people is essential, as is a willingness to get your hands dirty, whether that means lugging boxes of books around the office or driving a van to Leeds for a comic con.
5. What advice would you give to those looking to work in the industry?
Be open to working in any department. Understanding the business of publishing is crucial to any role - and when you’re just starting out, you are as likely to gain this understanding from a job in contracts or rights as you are in editorial or marketing.