UPDATE 9/11/2016: Lucy has changed roles now, this article used to list her job as Publicity Officer for Scholastic but she is now Senior Publicity Officer for Story HQ, a new imprint of HarperCollins. We decided that this post was recent enough to warrant the update.
I have recently started an MA in Publishing at the University of Central Lancashire and whilst I was looking into it I wanted to learn a bit more about the industry and that’s when I stumbled upon “The Book Belle“.
The Book Belle, who’s real name is Lucy Richardson, has a couple of videos on her channel about publishing – but the main focus of her channel is book chat, reviews etc.
I decided to connect with Lucy on Twitter and see if she would be up for answering some more questions relating to publishing and she agreed so below are my Q’s and her A’s in this latest Q&A post.
What attracted you to publishing as a career?
Would it be too obvious to say ‘books’? I’d not really considered publishing as a career until my second year of university, where I attended a careers talk about the industry. Around the same time, I set up my YouTube channel, and began liaising with publicists across trade publishing. It was then that I put the two together and set my sights on getting into the publishing industry!
What route did you take to get where you are?
I took a very traditional route – I went to university, got an English degree, and did around a month of work experience with a trade publisher. However, I think without the extra ‘edge’ on my CV with having a YouTube channel, I would have spent a lot longer trying to break into the industry to an entry level role. Publishing sees lots of candidates who have taken similar routes as me – degree and work experience – but now, it’s a lot harder to make yourself stand out in the current climate. I always think having that extra ‘edge’ to your CV helps – whether it’s a blog, a YouTube channel, bookselling experience or something quirky and outside the box.
What’s the best thing about a career in publishing?
There’s so many great things – the people, the authors, the books and the passion. Publishing has an atmosphere that is contagious and exciting, it’s constantly breaking boundaries and there’s always surprises with every year. There’s also so many routes to take in publishing – from Digital, to Publicity, to Editorial – and what’s even better, is that there’s a level of flexibility within these departments. No day is the same!
THE BOOK BELLE QUICK FIRE ROUND:
Favourite Food: Houmous. I’m OBSESSED.
Favourite Author: Sarah J Maas. Jane Austen. I can’t pick.
Favourite Book: Pride and Prejudice.
Favourite Film: Beauty and the Beast.
Favourite Song: All Too Well by Taylor Swift (hey, no judgement please!)
Pepsi or Coke: Coke.
Dogs or Cats: Dogs.
Batman or Superman: Neither?
Tea or Coffee: This is cruel. Both!
If a tree falls in the forest, and there’s no-one around to hear it, does it still make a sound? … Yes?
What’s the worst thing about a career in publishing?
Publishing is quite renowned for being a high-pressure, fast moving industry. It can be quite overwhelming at times, meeting deadlines and balancing expectations.
What piece of advice would you give someone who is unsure if publishing is for them?
I think it’s essential to do work experience and internships – firstly, because you most likely will struggle to get a job without them, and secondly, because you might realise it’s not the industry for you! I’d suggest researching into the different departments and divisions of publishing, and apply to a broad range of internships/placements. Take the time whilst you’re there to ask lots of questions, and learn the ins and outs of each department. Hopefully by then, you’d know if publishing was right for you.
Do you think that having a career in publishing would increase your chances of getting your own work published?
Definitely, although I wouldn’t suggest going into publishing just for that reason! I know quite a few people who work in publishing and have had a book deal. Working in the industry gives you a greater understanding of the publishing process, what agents and editors are looking for in terms of submissions, and also what trends are coming up. Lots of insider knowledge to be learned!
Do you do any writing yourself?
I’ve taken part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the last four years, and enjoy it every time in comes round! I would say I dabble in writing, mainly because it’s a creative outlet, in a similar way producing videos for my channel, but I find it hard to find the time to commit to writing regularly.
Thanks for having me!
If you want to follow Lucy and check out more of her work then there’s lots of places around the web to do so!
And if you want to keep up to date with my journey through a publishing MA course then follow my personal blog danpos.co.uk