Marketing Coordinator Rhian discusses her role at MUP and how and why she got into the industry as part of ‘Work in Publishing Week‘ 2022.
Who are you and what is your role?
I’m Rhian and I work in the marketing team at Manchester University Press, where I am responsible for marketing books on the history and art history lists – a little out of my comfort zone subject wise!
What does a typical day in your role look like?
My days tend to be varied and depends on priorities that week or even that day. The day normally starts with me grabbing a coffee and clearing my inbox which feels like starting my day with a clean slate. At the moment I’m working on my marketing campaign plans for my January key title books (publications for general audiences that we spend time planning during the lead up to the release in order to generate the highest sales possible) and the December Christmas campaign. I love campaign marketing – taking a campaign from initial planning, execution, to reporting on the campaigns success’s (and sometimes failures) feels incredibly gratifying. The great thing about this role is how varied it is. I get to work on events, conference planning, social media, digital and email optimization, stakeholder relationships, and many other aspects of marketing.
When people think of working in publishing, being an editor can automatically be the first role that comes to mind. But marketing provides exciting opportunities to work across a way range of public engagement and the publishing industry as a whole.
What makes academic publishing different from trade book publishers?
University Presses are, more often than not, mission-driven, not-for-profit publishers. There’s a preconception that academic publishers only publish textbooks and course books. In reality, university press’ get to work with some of the UK and world’s most talented academics, publishing exciting research theories and trade titles that are published for a general audience and available through most regular bookshops.
How did you get into publishing?
I’ve worked in varied marketing roles since graduating Swansea University with a degree in English Literature. I knew that the publishing industry was where I ultimately wanted to be but was also aware how competitive roles in publishing could be. I didn’t want to make the move to London which automatically meant that the majority of publishing jobs were out of reach. Publishing jobs outside London are few and far between and as a graduate with little experience and no idea where to start, I started my first graduate role in marketing. I really enjoyed marketing and was lucky to gain some varied experience in different roles.
What advice would you give to those hoping to get into publishing?
If you’re currently at University, I recommend looking to see if your university has an academic press. If so, they’re likely to provide opportunities to their students looking to gain experience in the industry. Follow accounts such as @SYP_UK, who provide amazing resources, mentorships, and organise networking events for those looking to break into publishing. Experience is the key, but I managed to gain experience outside of publishing which I was then able to apply to this role. There are many ways into industry that don’t follow the traditional avenues. Showcasing passion and in an interview will go a long way, so make sure you can show you have ambition, whether that be through volunteering or having your own social presence.