My Job in 5: Katie Sadler
· Describe your role.
I’m currently doing a maternity contract as Senior Marketing Manager for Quercus. I spend my days planning marketing campaigns from as far as a year out, and then managing all the elements of a campaign as it gets nearer to publication. I work across a really diverse range of books, and in any one day could be planning a social media schedule, briefing outdoor posters, organising influencer outreach, creating assets in Photoshop, and writing copy for Facebook ads. Plus there are a lot of meetings, emails, and people management thrown into the mix, too.
· What do you like best about your role?
To me, marketing books is the best possible job I could find myself in. Whether you have a big fancy tube campaign or Facebook advertising or whatever, at the end of the day behind it all is one person introducing another person to a great book. One of the reasons I particularly love online advertising and social media marketing is that it’s so trackable. Seeing people clicking through and buying books off the back of something I’ve shared still gives me a huge kick.
I am an absolutely voracious reader and still get a bit star struck when I meet authors whose books I’ve loved. For example, Sarah Knight, the author of Calm the F**k Down, was in the UK in January for an influencer event I organised with my colleagues in publicity, and I had to really stop myself from hugging her and telling her that her books have changed my life!
· Which new projects or titles are you working on at the moment?
At Quercus, I am always working on about 15 different titles, but top of my list today is Linda Green’s new paperback, The Last Thing She Told Me. There is lots of outdoor and digital advertising, so today I’ve been finalising the creative and writing some online ad copy. She’s a brilliant author, and the book is great, so it’s been an absolute gift to work on.
I also have a side project, A Life of Words, which is an author mentoring programme. I work with authors to help figure out their target audience and create a sustainable plan for their online presence, across everything from their website to their social media presence. The next round goes live on the 15th of March, which I can’t wait to get started on.
In March I will be going fully freelance. I’ve been working directly with authors and small publishers for a number of months now, so to take it full time is very exciting!
· What skills do you need for your role?
I work across so many authors and titles at Quercus, and have so much else going on outside of my day job, staying organised is absolutely crucial. I have a giant to-do list, which I’m always adding to, but have to be very good at prioritising. I choose the three things I absolutely must get done at the start of each day, and try not to do anything else until those are ticked off.
Publishing budgets are notoriously small. We have to reach as many people as possible on small (and often non-existent!) budgets. This means you need to be able to think creatively about how to talk about a book and find as many ways as possible for your message to travel as far it can without spending a lot of money.
And an understanding of people and human nature is also a good skill to have. What message should you pull out about a book that will make someone want to buy it?
· What advice would you give to those looking to work in the industry?
My advice would be to be visible. Don’t be afraid to approach people you admire and ask them for advice. I was hugely intimidated by the industry as a whole before I started working in it. I felt like there were enormous barriers to entry as someone who didn’t study English Literature, didn’t go to Oxbridge, and wasn’t born or raised in the UK.
I think the industry still has a long way to go to change that perception to outsiders, but what has changed massively is how accessible individuals are now. If there’s someone you admire at a company you’d like to work at, send them a message as ask if you can pick their brains. People in publishing are (mostly!) really lovely and willing to help. They clearly won’t say ‘hey, I’ve got a job going right now, it’s yours!’, but at the very least you’ll get some good insight from them, and you’ll stand out to them if and when they do hear of a job going.