Posted 21.12.15 by prhcareers
“I was put to work almost right away and felt like a regular member of the team from early on.”
So you’re the International eBook Sales Coordinator – what does that mean?
I have a lot of aspects to my job, but it is basically a sales role in that I work to promote our eBook sales in international territories. I create and send newsletters and highlights emails to our international e-book retailers (or e-tailers), I am involved in creating, launching and analysing eBook price promotions and I liaise with other departments within the company and keep up to date with industry news to make sure that the rest of the international digital sales team are well informed on what is happening elsewhere e.g. marketing activity or external opportunities such as films or book awards.
What’s it like to work in Sales at Penguin Random House?
It’s a lot more collaborative than other places I’ve worked, but at the same time I have a lot more autonomy too. I have my own responsibilities and people within the company will come to me for help on these, but similarly it’s a real team effort, and everyone is happy to chip in for a colleague to help out where they can.
What’s the culture like in your team?
There are lots of great socialising opportunities in international sales, such as conferences held in different cities, book launches and Frankfurt and London book fairs, so there are lots of great opportunities to get to know the greater team outside of the usual work environment. The international digital sales team itself is a lot smaller, so we know each other pretty well and there’s a great atmosphere of comradery in the office. We like to celebrate small victories with a drink every now and then. Recently we had a boozy bowling baby shower for a couple of new dads in the team complete with baby-themed quizzes and cake, so it’s a really relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
What’s the most exciting thing that’s happened to you at work this month?
This is not a reflection on how much I love my current job (because I do!), but I was pretty excited to announce that I will be covering for a colleague who works in UK Digital Sales while she is on maternity leave next year. Working in a market where English is the first language means that the work that you put in to promoting an eBook will see a bigger return in consumer interaction and sales. I am especially excited about working closely with Transworld, which is a publishing powerhouse within the company publishing big names like Kate Atkinson, Lee Child and Paula Hawkins.
Best thing about your job?
It might seem cliché but my favourite perk of working in the sales team is the books. We publish such a vast list that the editorial teams often send us copies of upcoming books that they would really like us to focus on selling. It’s also great to be able to read them so far in advance of publication, and drive your friends crazy saying ‘I’ve just read this amazing book, you’ll love it! But of course you’ll have to wait until next year like everybody else…’ Meeting authors I really love definitely comes a close second.
Biggest challenge to your job?
The biggest challenge I face is sifting through the sheer number of brilliant books we publish and predicting what will do well in our territories in eBook format. It’s a fine art, and there’s always the danger of focussing more on books that you’ve read and love rather than books that have the potential to perform best commercially.
You were with us on a summer internship before you joined – what was that like?
The internship was a really great introduction to the world of publishing. I was put to work almost right away and felt like a regular member of the team from early on. The work was interesting, the rest of the team were supportive and I got to go to fun social events such as the summer sports day so that I soon realised I didn’t want to leave. Luckily for me I didn’t have to, and the internship when it ended morphed almost imperceptibly into my current role.
How did you make the most of your 10 week internship and any advice for future interns?
My motto during that time was ‘never say no’ – obviously within reason! – and I made sure to always be present at social events, join in as many meetings as possible and to introduce myself to as many people as I could. Most of these things were not a part of the internship but it was important to make the most of my time there, and it didn’t hurt to show the team that I was interested in what was going on outside of my personal work. I would advise future interns not to be afraid of putting themselves out there and to try and be as involved as possible.
All-time favourite book/story?
Like so many people here, reading the classics when I was young sparked and cemented my love of books. One book that I can reread over and over and that has changed for me over time is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. That said, it really pains me to pick only one and it doesn’t represent the diversity of my reading list or the sheer scale of books I love. Therefore I’ll add that one of my favourite current books, which I read for the first time last year and which I recommend to everyone who’ll listen is I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes, which, being a thrilling crime novel, is about as far removed from Jane Eyre as possible.
Being slightly obsessed with The Great British Bake Off and clearing my social calendar every Wednesday when it was on. A few teams within the company hold their own annual Bake Off competitions and I’ve always wanted to get involved.
Talk us through this desk-selfie…
My desk is full of books I haven’t managed to take home yet, a couple of pot plants to cheer the place up and the usual jumble of documents. I also have a Pritt stick for all the creative cards we hand-make for our team, a thank-you card from a seven-year-old who loved the Wimpy Kid book I sent her, and a mini-deckchair for my phone, which was a joke gift from the team making fun of my tendency for disaster when I order things online (yes, I really did once accidentally buy a mini deckchair).