1 What is your job title and company? And roughly how many people work for your company?
I’m managing director of Jolly Learning. We have 15 people in the company.
2 What are your qualifications and working background, and when and how did you take on your current job?
I was a chemistry graduate, and after university spent 15 years in consumer marketing. This has meant I had no formative experience in publishing, but I do have a respect for brands that I have sought to use.
3 What does your average working day entail?
There is a lot of emailing, but also phone calls and informal meetings. We have an open office and I have tried to avoid a meetings culture.
4 What do you enjoy most about your job?
I am still amazed at the reach one can have, emailing people around the world on a daily basis, and being able to matter to each other.
5 What achievements are you most proud of?
We are fortunate in having been able to have a profound and positive impact on such an important part of education: the teaching of reading and writing.
6 What are your biggest challenges?
We have a challenge in achieving growth. Sure, these are hard times, and we have competition, but we need to expand more in scale and reach.
7 What have you experienced in your job and publishing that you didn’t expect?
The biggest problems were at the beginning. VAT and accounts were a nightmare. Now, it is remarkable how rewarding publishing can be, making a difference in so many places.
8 What is the best thing about working for an independent publisher?
Working in consumer marketing could be rewarding when your ideas and efforts could be seen in sales, but there is a limit to how excited one can get with most consumer products. It’s somehow different in publishing. Books and related items have much more intrinsic value, embodying culture and enabling fulfillment.
9 How do you switch off from your work?
I find it easiest to switch off through travel. I enjoy getting absorbed in other cultures and their history.
10 What advice would you give anyone wanting to start or progress a career in publishing?
Find a niche and aim to excel in it. If publishing is your profession you need to be good at your discipline, whether editorial, social media marketing or whatever. If you are an owner-publisher then it is to find a niche subject and understand it as well as, or better than, anyone else. With this capability publishing can be very rewarding.