1 What is your job title and company? And roughly how many people work for your company?
I am head of sales at Manchester University Press (MUP). Around 30 people work here.
2 What are your qualifications and working background, and when and how did you take on your current job?
I have been in the publishing industry since 1989 and have enjoyed a varied and rewarding career to date. Throughout my career I have been responsible for developing and evaluating sales and marketing strategies in various roles, including at Emerald and Maney Publishing. Whilst at Emerald I was fortunate to be offered the opportunity to follow its internal management development programme, and through this route obtained an MBA in 1996.
I was out of the academic publishing industry for around a year after leaving Maney Publishing, working in a B2B organisation, but my heart was always in the academic publishing area, so when the opportunity at MUP arose in October 2016, I jumped at the chance.
3 What does your average working day entail?
My day to day work involves reviewing sales performance of our titles and looking for ways to improve sales of our products. This entails regular contact with colleagues, sales reps, consortia groups and direct library customers, as well as our external distribution partners.
My primary focus at the moment is formulating sales strategies for our ebooks and ebook collections. By working with my colleagues in editorial, production and marketing we will be launching two new ebook collections during 2017 (Manchester Studies in Imperialism and Manchester Irish Studies).
4 What do you enjoy most about your job?
Interacting with people. I talk to customers, suppliers and colleagues at conferences, events and meetings, and we discuss any issues or concerns they may have and find ways to overcome them. Being in sales at a smaller publisher is quite challenging, so when successful sales strategies come to fruition I feel very satisfied. After all my time in sales I still get a buzz from each and every sale or successful interaction.
5 What achievements are you most proud of?
I was very proud (and relieved!) to successfully complete my MBA. I also feel very fortunate to have been able to travel to some fantastic places around the world, experience different cultures and meet new people, some of whom have become long-term friends.
6 What are your biggest challenges?
A constantly changing market and competing with larger publishers who have many more resources.
7 What have you experienced in your job and publishing that you didn’t expect?
The camaraderie and longevity of careers in the industry.
8 How do you switch off from your work?
I try to exercise regularly via circuit training classes—but sitting in traffic for hours trying to get out of Manchester city centre I regularly miss them!
9 What advice would you give anyone wanting to start or progress a career in publishing?
Try to gain experience and understanding of all aspects of publishing, from sourcing and producing content through to marketing, sales and delivery of products. You get to learn how decisions made in one area of the business impact on others.