* New Feature Alert! * This is a feature I wanted to start ever since we started this blog in June. After a couple months of developing it and interviewing people..here it is!
As a blog run by college aged kids, the thing most on our minds, aside from books, is what the heck we are going to do with our lives. We all joke and dream about having a job where we could read or blog all day and feel pangs of jealousy when we encounter someone who does just that. In my (Jamie's) job search, I've realized that there are so many different types of bookish jobs out there that I had never even thought about. In college I never thought I could be in the book industry because I never wanted to be an author or an editor or a publisher. I didn't think there was anything else out there. I've come to realize that there so many types of bookish jobs out there for people of varying strengths and abilities and I want to spotlight these jobs... and thus begins our new monthly feature--Bookish Jobs For Bookish People.
I knew for our first Bookish Jobs spotlight that I absolutely had to have Erica Barmash from Harper Perennial. She is ridiculously awesome and, let's be honest, as someone who studied marketing in college I pretty much want her job! :) So, give Erica a big warm welcome to The Broke and the Bookish!
Name: Erica Barmash
Job Title: Marketing Manager, Harper Perennial
How long you've been in this position: Just over a year, though I have been writing the Harper Perennial blog, the Olive Reader, for longer than that
What prior position(s) did you hold before becoming the marketing manager? Before this job, I was a copywriter/promotions manager in our advertising and promotions department for four years. Before that, I spent six months at a Catholic magazine as the assistant to the book review editor. Before that, I was a publicity assistant for a year and a half at Abrams, an art book publisher. Before that, internships.
What type of higher education or training do you have? What degree would the ideal candidate for this position hold? I have a BA in English. Before I switched jobs within HarperCollins, I was super worried that my lack of official marketing education would be a problem, but my boss learned her job from the ground up and had no problem with me doing the same (she started way back when as the assistant to our publisher, back when our publisher was the audio marketing director. Our publisher started out as the assistant to our president, back when he was the head of sales at another company. Lots of respect in our department for the concept of working your way up.) Publishing isn’t rocket science. You can learn what POS is and how to present at a sales conference, but no one can teach you how to work hard, be enthusiastic, be part of a team, and love reading. Those things are more important than degrees, at least in my experience.
That's a really great point. There really is no subsitute for hard work and passion. Describe what a typical day looks like for you: I usually get in around 8:45 or 9 and start tackling emails. I’ll usually spend the first hour or so of the day reading and responding to emails and doing email-related tasks like reading reviews bloggers have sent in, answering questions, etc. A lot of my job involves disseminating information—passing blog reviews on to editors, passing marketing plans on to sales, etc etc.
Then, around 10:30ish, if I don’t have a meeting that morning, I’ll try to tackle one of the bigger things on my to-do list. That could be anything from writing our monthly newsletter to sending out blog outreach emails to preparing my presentations for an upcoming sales conference. (See the attached photos of various to-do lists of mine for a better idea.
I almost always go to lunch around 12:30, and I almost always go with Mark Ferguson, the online marketing manager for Harper hardcovers. After lunch, it’s more emails, more meetings, more to-do lists. There’s almost no typical day, except that most days are busy, and a lot of them are fun.
What is your least favorite aspect of your job?
Every job has some boring clerical tasks, and this job is no exception. Processing invoices isn’t fun, but it’s necessary! On a more emotional level, it is really, really difficult when a book and author you love don’t get the attention they deserve.
Biggest perk of your job: free books! Knowing what cool books are on their way. Meeting and becoming friends with some of our amazing authors. Working with people who share a passion for books.
Tell us one of your best memories on the job.
I consider many of the people I work with to be practically family, and so we have a lot of great moments together, but a recent one happened when Amy Baker (my boss, our marketing director) and Mary Sasso (harper paperbacks marketing coordinator) road-tripped to the Boston Book Festival.
I'm sure it was a good time as I found out how fun you ladies are at the Brooklyn Book Fest. What do you think the biggest misconception is about your position/industry?
I think in general there’s a lot of confusion about what marketing does, partly because it varies from company to company and even imprint to imprint within companies. I’ve often been mistaken for a publicist, even by people within the industry. Outside of the industry, I think a lot of people view book publishing as being about nothing but low pay and long hours. But I think I work the same hours as anyone who cares a lot about his or her job, and while I’m not rolling in money, I’m also not poverty-stricken.
Complete this sentence. This job is not for you if.. you can’t do a million things at once!
What advice do you have for people who are interested in being a marketing manager for a publishing company?
Read as much as you can.
And now for a fun question. Childhood dream job?
Published novelist. (I’ve got the novelist part down, now just need to get to the published part.)
I'll be reading your novel once it's published for sure! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. As someone who so very much wants a job doing marketing for the book world, it's really awesome to know that passion and hard work is rewarded!