My Job in 5: Jenn Thompson
- Describe your role
I’m a marketing manager, but my role involves so many things! I manage an awesome team of five people and our core job is to produce a monthly sales kit for the 200+ publishers we distribute. This involves wrangling new title info from publishers, data work, writing blurbs and making Advance Information sheets. Then I put it all together into a kit for our sales reps and customers. We do marketing and publicity work for our US & overseas clients. I oversee our social media marketing, our newsletters, and our blog. Generally, I help our publishers in any way I can to make sure their books have a certain level of visibility in the UK.
- What do you like best about your role?
I like how varied it is. It’s never boring. I love working with our publishers, especially the indies who are putting out some really important books. With distribution you get an amazing insight into all kinds of publishing, from art to sci-fi to literary fiction to comics and everything in-between. I am a huge champion for/fan of LGBTQ literature, and I get to work with some really inspiring publishers like Arsenal Pulp Press and the Feminist Press who are putting out amazing books by some of my favourite queer authors.
- Which new projects or titles are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I’m working on the sales kit for March 2019. After that’s wrapped up, we’ll be starting work on our Christmas lists and best-of-the-year lists. I’m also getting ready for Frankfurt Book Fair in October. In terms of titles, we have some exciting books coming up from Melville House, Europa, Myriad, Galley Beggar and Avery Hill.
- What skills do you need for your role?
You need to be hugely organised and able to work quickly. The job is extremely deadline driven. You need to be flexible too, as things can change from one minute to the next. Communication skills are essential, including good copywriting skills.
- What advice would you give to those looking to work in the industry?
You don’t have to work for a publisher to work in publishing! There are loads of exciting jobs that allow you to work with excellent publishers without working for them. Be flexible and creative, and look beyond the big publishing houses. Also, apply for jobs even if you can’t tick every requirement in the job post. As long as you’re interested and willing, new skills can be learned. When I’m hiring I make my decisions more on what applicants have to say than what’s on their CV.