Me and my job: Jasmin Kirkbride, editorial assistant and digital publicist at Periscope
1 What is your job title and company—and how many people work there?
I’m the editorial assistant and digital publicist at Periscope, an imprint of Garnet Publishing. There are five of us working at Periscope, though three of us are part-time.
2 What are your qualifications and working background, and when and how did you take on your current job?
I have a Masters in Ancient History but have been working in publishing since I graduated two years ago. After a time working in digital I decided to give editorial a shot, so I undertook an internship at Tenebris Books before being interviewed for the job at Periscope. I was originally just the editorial assistant but ended up organically taking on the digital publicist role as well.
3 What does your average working day entail?
Landing at my desk, checking in with all our social media outlets, answering any emails that have come in overnight, then getting stuck in to some editing. I do a lot of administrative support around the office and help organize our events as well, so my role is pretty varied. When I have a free moment, I try to get round to reading as many submissions as I can, though there always seems to be more to read than there are hours in the day!
4 What do you enjoy most about your job?
Definitely reading submissions. I enjoy editing too, but there’s a certain excitement about coming across a gem of a story buried in the slushpile that just can’t be beaten.
5 What achievements are you most proud of?
I am very proud that I am now editing full manuscripts. I thought it would take me longer than it has to get there!
6 What are your biggest challenges?
Probably the same faced by any small independent publisher: we all double up on our roles and get involved in all sorts of different areas of the publishing process. It means we are always on a tight schedule, but I like keeping busy and there are benefits to having a smaller team—communication and clearance for big projects is much more immediate, for example.
7 What have you experienced in your job and publishing that you didn’t expect?
When I first got into publishing it looked from the outside like a perfect book-producing process, and it’s not like that at all! I write lots of freelance opinion and news pieces for industry magazines in my free time and the more I look at publishing the more haphazard it seems—though maybe no more so than any other industry. Yet it still works, in this crazy, slightly cantankerous way, and I love that.
8 What is the best thing about working for an independent publisher?
The benefits of working for an independent—gosh, there are so many! I think you get to experiment a lot more and you also get given more responsibility sooner, which I enjoy. In my work I’m directly engaged with every part of the process of producing a book and that’s a really special thing.
9 How do you switch off from your work?
I read and write, mainly short stories and novels. I’m also an avid cartoon watcher and I love cooking, so I do as much of those things as I can. But a lot of people who know me would probably say I don’t turn off! When your work is your passion it all sort of blends into one.
10 What advice would you give anyone wanting to start or progress a career in publishing?
Read everything—not just books but everything about books online. Check every literary blog you can on a daily basis. Bookmarks are your friend. And attend events. Publishing is so full of amazing people that there is no need to be shy—and I got my first job through someone I met at a BookMachine event, so you never know where it might lead!