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My Job in 5: Michael Richards

Michael Richards is the head of marketing for Pottermore and takes the helm of My Job in 5 this week, read on to see what it's like to work for the literary division of one of the biggest franchises in literary history.
Written on 01/31/2019 - 13:38
  1. Describe your role


I work with the management team in Pottermore’s Publishing division to scope and shape what products we’re going to make, and with retailers globally to define and deliver the marketing and merchandising of those products.  

  1. What do you like best about your role?


I love the speed of working in a digital company. Of course, not everything is quick – a in-depth project like Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – Makers, Mysteries and Magic was close to two years in the making - but generally speaking we can make decisions and act on them much more quickly than I’ve experienced in a traditional publishing house.

  1. Which new projects or titles are you working on at the moment?


Right now, I’m still working on the first official Wizarding World Skill for Amazon’s Alexa, which we launched at the end of November and is getting amazing ratings from fans. I’ve also been spending my time on a major promotional campaign in conjunction with Warner Bros. and Education First in China, which we rolled out in October last year and will be coming to a close shortly.


As for what comes next, the publishing team at Pottermore is a little bit different to the norm. We have former game developers, podcast presenters, TV producers and web developers in the team, which makes for an interesting mix and a lot of ideas. Watch this space…

  1. What skills do you need for your role?


Many of your readers will have worked on major licensed brands and will know the complexities that come with that. The Wizarding World is excitingly large and truly global. I work in one part of that universe, so the most important skill is navigating it effectively, which means having the ability to step back from what we’re doing right now and understand the direction of the whole Wizarding World and how we best fit into it.

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


My time in publishing has been characterised by consolidation, an ever-growing ‘long tail’ and the arrival of digital reading and listening, but the changes we’ve seen in the last twenty years will be nothing compared to what we see in the next twenty. My advice to someone starting out now would be that they should go into publishing if they are brave and hungry enough to shape what the industry will become.