Can you tell us about your role and what it entails?
I’m a UK Sales Executive at Egmont Books. It’s quite a varied role, so day to day you can be doing anything from processing customer orders, to feeding back on manuscripts and covers to pitching new titles to customers. As with any junior level roles there is always plenty of admin (excel grids, setting up stock reserves etc) but there’s also plenty of opportunity to gush to customers about books!
Would you be able to offer an overview of your publishing career so far? What position did you start in?
I started at Hachette Children’s on a temporary contract as a marketing and publicity assistant. It’s what I thought I really wanted to do in publishing, but as it was a temporary contract, I found myself as a sales assistant at Bloomsbury for their adult books. I still had that marketing & PR itch, though, so went back to be a communications assistant at Pan Macmillan.
Quickly realised that it really wasn’t for me so moved to Egmont as a sales assistant. I got promoted to sales exec last year which was really exciting, but it goes to show that you shouldn’t be afraid to move around to find the area of publishing that really suits you.
What does an average day look like for you (if there is such a thing in your role)?
An average day usually starts with checking the previous day’s sales and going through my inbox to see what’s come in overnight. From there I usually process any orders, pull together presentations for customer meetings, liaise with our sales reps and liaise with our customers to ensure that they have everything they need.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
Talking about books! There’s something so nice about heading to a customer meeting and updating people on the new and exciting books that are coming out.
What is the hardest thing about your job?
It can be quite admin heavy and juggling the requirements of different customers can be tricky, but as long as you’re organised and have a system in place there shouldn’t be any problems!
What is something surprising about your role that most people might not know about?
That sales is likely the area of publishing that spends the most time talking about books externally – I’m not sure that that’s thought about much when considering sales as a career!
If someone was looking for a role in sales, what would you suggest they do outside of work experience to improve their CV?
Any kind of admin work whether that’s in an office or not where you’re using Microsoft Office regularly, excel in particular, will always be handy no matter what role you’re applying for.
Being a bookseller or working in a library would also be good. One thing to add is to be aware of the book market, looking at what the bestsellers are in that current period and what trends are popular when applying/ interviewing. It shows you’re doing your research!
How would you pitch your job in a sentence?
If you love the buzz of talking about books and seeing them in bookshops because of your hard work, you’ll love sales!
Originally from the South Wales valleys, Leah moved to London in 2015 to start her career in the publishing industry. Before joining the children’s marketing & PR team at Hachette Children’s, Leah studied English Literature at Swansea University and worked in a library at a college. She is now a Sales Executive at Egmont Books. Her favourite things to do are read, attend gigs, and explore. Leah’s current favourite book is Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid.