Around the time of August / September, 2017, I was offered the opportunity to work for Pen Name Publishing as their Marketing Assistant intern. The position lasted until January, 2018.
Ever since I’d self-published Ryan Rupert, I’d been trying to get a job in publishing, because I thought I’d do well in the industry. However, I had many obstacles, including:
- Living in Australia (not that I consider Australia a bad place to live— we have lots of great things going for our country including free healthcare and anti-gun laws— but the publishing industry is tiny in Australia and this creates an abundance of difficulties.)
- Living in the wrong town/state— again, refer to my above point, but the majority of publishing houses in Australia are situated in Sydney and Melbourne, which is not even remotely near where I live. I would have to move to an expensive city and take on an unpaid internship just to get my foot in the door.
- Not having qualifications— I do believe I was qualified because I had experience in the ‘publishing’ process, and originally, I wanted to get into an editorial position because I had two creative writing degrees which I obtained online, but I wasn’t ‘officially’ qualified for any of the limited positions being offered.
So when PNP offered me a remote based internship, it worked perfectly. I would be able to gain experience without having to move. The downside was that it was, like most internships, unpaid— so I still had to work a full-time day job to meet my bills. And on top of being an author, it was a lot to handle.
PNP is a US based boutique book publisher who publishes bold stories such as Scouts Honor (Dori Ann Dupre), Something Beautiful (Amanda Gernenzt Hanson), Chasing Eveline (Leslie Hauser), and The Before Now And After Then (Peter Monn). The focus of a lot of their books is diversity, or real-life issues, and having read a number of their books, they are really good stories. (I’m not being biased— I read many of their books before I got offered my position there).
My job was to promote their titles through marketing strategies, publicity opportunities, and by collecting book reviews. It was very easy (but very time consuming) stuff— and apart from the director, I was the only other marketing person. It’s expected in a lot of small publishing houses that authors do a lot of their own promotion (and as an author myself, I do believe this is a good skill to have).
The team there is absolutely lovely and working there was an experience I’ll never forget. They treat all their staff and authors like family, and the relationships between everyone are so supportive and wonderful.
During my time there, I left my day job to start my own business, which I hoped would give me more time to combine the tasks I was doing and ultimately spend more time on the authors.
In my honest option, promoting a single book title is kind of like raising a child— and as the old saying has it, it takes a village. I don’t say that because it’s difficult, but because (as I mentioned above) it takes time, and it depends on the co-operation of other individuals. You are constantly negotiating with and depending on book reviewers, media, and readers to deliver, respond, and interact with the books you’re trying to push.
So, imagine trying to promote an entire house of titles, as one person? You have to put a lot of strong systems in place to make it happen.
I really enjoyed my time there and I think it helped that I personally loved and believed in so many of the books there. It made me more motivated to promote them and talk about them because, in reality, I do love them! But I eventually left to focus more on my own business and writing ventures, and I heard that PNP is now hiring a marketing team, which I wholeheartedly believe will help the authors there to succeed and make their company that much stronger.
That’s definitely the biggest takeaway I got from my experience there— teamwork is dreamwork. If you’re signed with a big publisher, don’t take it lightly, because you are in good hands. If you’re signed with a small publisher, be kind to your marketing assistant and don’t be afraid to step up and help. Offer your ideas, get involved— better results are always achieved when more hands are on deck. And nobody is going to believe in your book more than yourself, as the author.
Read the next part of my journey: Why I Started My Business.