How I Got My Job: Editorial Director

It's that time again! Every two months we're talking about how you can get into publishing by giving you a sneak peek into how people on the MKB team gained their current roles! 

Through the year we'll be talking about marketing, sales, publicity and production. You can read our marketing post here, and today we're going to talk chat about getting into editorial!

So, no more delay - let's find out about editorial!


Name: Rachel Petty

Job: Editorial Director at Pan Macmillan


Tell us what you do for a living.

I am editorial director of the 6+ list with responsibility for the YA list - AKA the best job in the world.  


How did you got about getting your job? What did you do before that?

I was temping as a graphic designer at a publishing company and making myself useful editorially as they were really stretched. That company was bought by Macmillan so when a job came up I wangled an interview. I don't even have an English degree (I studied film) so I knew I needed to distinguish myself in a different way, so when they gave me some tasks to complete, like briefing a cover and writing some copy, and I went completely over the top and designed the whole cover. 


What does a day in the life of your job look like?

I need to make sure every book is on track for publication and every author is happy and on top of what they're doing, so each day is pretty varied - I might be writing cover copy, developing a publication strategy, pitching for a new title or brainstorming titles with the team on any given day. If I have an edit to do its emails off, head down, or work from home. When submissions come in I tend to read them at home in the evening.  


What's your favourite thing about your job?

The moment the freshly printed books land on your desk is pretty special!  


What would be your advice to people aspiring to work in the publishing industry?

I wish I'd spent time working in a bookshop - I think that's invaluable experience. If you do get a placement somewhere make yourself as invaluable as possible, go to events and learn as much about the market as you can. Any subsidiary skills that you can learn while you're waiting for your big break are worthwhile as well, especially if you can teach yourself - Photoshop, video editing, social media and so on. Most of all, don't ever think that publishing isn't for you, or that you don't have something to offer. We actively want people who are approaching the industry from different angles, so if the traditional way in isn't working for you, try something else. Also, we're a friendly bunch. If you want advice, ask! People always think you need to know someone in publishing to get a chance, but we're all on twitter, and generally happy to help. 


Got any questions? Let us know over at @mykindabook!