1 What is your job title and company? And roughly how many people work for your company?
I am a partner and co-founder of The Witcherley Book Company. Currently there's just me and one other part-time person.
2 What are your qualifications and working background, and when and how did you take on your current job?
I’m a big fan of the Open University and have taken 17 courses with them over the years, so have a range of largely computing qualifications. Initially I started in publishing as an evening and weekend job, with the first books published being those of my partner. But I was made redundant from my IT consultant job last year and decided, since publishing was much more fun, to concentrate on that full-time. I still keep an interest in IT though, and am a member of two other IPG member organizations: BCS and IET.
3 What does your average working day entail?
I’m not sure there is an average day as each one differs depending upon where we are in the production cycle. I always start the day on Twitter. Most days I then go through my mail, which includes reviewing the many newsletters I’ve subscribed to. The day is then a mixture of deciding what books to do next, copy-editing, testing and quality checks, writing marketing copy, building websites, designing books and covers, converting ebooks, book-keeping and documentation, IT support, recording and editing videos and setting up and monitoring adverts—all interspersed with more social media. I also get to keep my hand in as a teccy by writing any computer routines and programs I think will be useful. In addition I read quite a few books about publishing.
4 What do you enjoy most about your job?
The variety and freedom to experiment. And of course I’m still thrilled when the first proof copy of a new book is printed.
5 What achievements are you most proud of?
Probably when I decided to take a risk by commissioning a top designer for a cover redesign for a book series. Shortly afterwards we were accepted for our first BookBub promotion, which makes an enormous difference to sales, and got to number one in our genre on Amazon.
6 What are your biggest challenges?
Selling enough books. Increasing book discoverability and getting enough reviews. Keeping on top of the to-do list, as I always feel there is more we could be doing.
7 What have you experienced in your job and publishing that you didn’t expect?
I didn’t expect to become a full-time publisher at all, but enjoyed it so much that when I was made redundant I didn’t want to do anything else.
8 What is the best thing about working for an independent publisher?
It is great fun. I’ve never had a job before that I liked doing so much. I just love the variety and even enjoy some of the more tedious jobs like quality checks.
9 How do you switch off from your work?
I initially did everything I do now in the evenings and weekends, so not working then seems like lost time. But I do quite a lot of exercise of various sorts and play the piano. I spend quite a lot of time looking after elderly relatives, which usually means I can’t then do anything publishing-related, unless a deadline is looming.
10 What advice would you give anyone wanting to start or progress a career in publishing?