Me and my job: Clare Christian, publisher at RedDoor Publishing
1 What is your job title and company—and how many people work there?
I’m the publisher at RedDoor Publishing. We are a team of just two at the moment, but we work with lots of freelancers.
2 What are your qualifications and working background, and when and how did you take on your current job?
My degree is in Zoology, so publishing wasn’t an obvious next step. But I wanted to publish popular science books so I started out at McGraw-Hill as an editorial assistant before moving to John Wiley, then Orion, Pearson, Hodder and HarperCollins. I set up The Friday Project in 2005, which was sold to HarperCollins in 2008, then set up RedDoor in 2014. I have yet to publish a popular science book!
3 What does your average working day entail?
There is no average working day, which I love. But typically I’ll be meeting authors, writing cover briefs, working out costings, liaising with freelancers, signing off proofs and planning new and exciting things for RedDoor and our authors.
4 What do you enjoy most about your job?
Working closely with authors to develop their books.
5 What achievements are you most proud of?
I won The London Book Fair and British Council Publisher of the Year award a while back—that was nice and a fun evening out. But on a day to day level I think that creating a list of happy, involved and satisfied authors is something for us to be proud of.
6 What are your biggest challenges?
Scaling the business up on a relatively tight budget.
7 What have you experienced in your job and publishing that you didn’t expect?
On the negative side I have been very surprised by how slow the industry as a whole is to respond to threats and opportunities. On a more positive note, while not entirely unexpected, it is wonderful to work in an industry in which most people are really passionate about their work.
8 What is the best thing about working for an independent publisher?
I love the fact that I can now publish across a range of genres rather than just one. I also like the speed and flexibility of independent publishing. In the larger publishing houses I have worked for it used to take about three meetings just to set up a meeting! Now we can make a decision during a quick phone call and then move on.
9 How do you switch off from your work?
Swimming, horse riding, walking the dogs and reading published books rather than manuscripts!
10 What advice would you give anyone wanting to start or progress a career in publishing?
Gain as much experience as you can and use any contacts you have. Friends of friends of friends can be enormously helpful in nudging doors open.