Welcome to our weekly “What I Do Wednesday” series where we highlight people in real jobs making real impact. If you’re thinking about changing careers, this could be a great way to learn if a field is for you! Enjoy!
So Katie, tell us a bit more about your company and job!
I work for a book publisher called Hachette Book Group, pronounced “Ah-shett” if your French pronunciation is correct! There are offices all over (including Paris, oui, oui), but our main U.S. office is in NYC.
I do the online marketing here in Nashville for two imprints (an imprint is like a business within a business that publishes a specific brand or book category). I get to develop digital strategies for every book we publish as well as for our imprints. That means a lot of social media content planning and analysis, placing online ads, creating landing pages, and more! I feel a little like “Dug” in the movie UP when he sees a squirrel. I’m constantly moving from one project to the next.
Well, that’s not cool at all…..How did you get there?
I grew up a bit of a book nerd, and then majored in English and Journalism. I did some freelance writing and worked for a tech start-up after college before getting accepted into the Summer Publishing Institute at NYU. On the first day of classes, I thought I’d be learning primarily about editorial opportunities, but publishing employs a diverse number of jobs—from accounting to marketing and publicity. I loved the marketing side and ended up getting an internship and then job at Sterling Publishing with their Children’s and Young Adult (YA) imprints.
What do you love about your job?
I love that there’s a lot of creativity and collaboration involved. I might be writing copy for our enewsletter part of the day and sending it to our copyeditor for proofreading, designing graphics the next before reviewing with an author, or talking to a fellow employee about some out-of-the-box marketing idea that we’re trying to get off the ground.
….And what’s kind of hard?
With any job you have to learn how to prioritize. There’s always work to be done, which means it never gets boring, but you’ve got to filter through which projects have to get done in the next hour and which ones can be finished end of day or end of week, etc. The online world moves quickly so it’s also keeping your finger on the pulse so you don’t miss any marketing opportunities. Timing is often everything.
Are there any preconceived notions you’d like to debunk?
That everyone in book publishing is an introvert! Our publicity team proves that notion wrong (and I happen to sit with them). Everyone feeds off each other’s energy throughout the day and overall we have a lot of fun while we work.
What advice would you give someone who is looking to get into your industry?
Set up informational interviews…and never turn down the opportunity to work on a new project. I honestly can’t remember who told me that when I first started but it does make a difference because you’ll end up learning a new skill and getting to know another employee you might not have otherwise known. I’ve also had college students or recent graduates approach me for informational interviews and I always say yes so don’t be afraid to ask someone who has a job you’re interested in. I had people who did the same for me!
Anything else fun our readers should know about you or your career?
You know what’s better than reading a book? Reading a book WHILE eating a cookie! I’m a bit of a cookie nerd. As in, I LOVE cookies. If there’s ever cookies brought into the office I’m typically the first to know. And I love baking them about as much as I love eating them. If cookies aren’t fun then I don’t know what is…(should I have gone with running instead?).