My Job in 5: Heather O'Connell
Describe your role.
I provide production expertise and advice, helping publishers review and streamline their production and ops process. These processes and workflows often evolve over time and it’s hard to review them while still doing the day-today
business of making books. That’s when the external eye that I provide becomes invaluable. I also run Get into Book Publishing, a suite of introductory courses for those who’d like to get into the industry.
What do you like best about your role?
I’m really lucky. My role is rewarding in lots of ways. I know it’s a cliché but I really do love its variety. No two days are ever the same and I’m always learning, which is really important to me. I also get to work with lots of great people
and businesses, making things easier for them and their teams. It’s really satisfying to work with a team and leave them happier and more efficient than when I arrived.
Which new projects or titles are you working on at the moment?
I’ve recently finished a structural and process review for a publisher. I looked at its whole supply chain, workflows and structure, made recommendations and helped it to create an implementation plan. This week, I’ve been working
on some new courses for the Get into Book Publishing programme. We’re expanding to include courses in transferable skills, Photoshop, InDesign and coding.
What skills do you need for your role?
I think, above everything else, you need to be curious and willing to listen, learn and adapt. Publishing is a constantly evolving business, understanding the broader business landscape and how that affects what we do and how we do it
is critical. Building strong relationships, both internally and externally, is also vital to getting things done in publishing.
What advice would you give to those looking to work in the industry?
Persevere. It’s tough to get into publishing but it’s a great industry to be part of. Once you’re in, say yes to everything— take every opportunity that comes your way. Even if you think it won’t help you now, it almost certainly will in the future.