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 began our monthly feature--See past Bookish Jobs For Bookish People.
Job Title - Online Sales Coordinator for the Amazon sales team at Random House. I facilitate getting content like videos, photos, essays, blog posts, and site ads on Amazon. I also get to play with customer search data and set up campaigns that drive users to our books. Since Amazon is, obviously, wholly an e-retailer, merchandising space like you see in a physical bookstore is much more limited, so you have to get creative about how and where you can lead a customer to a book!
How long you've been in this position: since May 2010.
What prior position(s) did you hold before this position? Marketing Coordinator for Harper Paperbacks and Avon, and before that, Amistad.
What degree would the ideal candidate for this position hold? You must love books. Why else would you bother? I’m going to assume your blog’s readers have got that part covered. Honestly, getting a job in publishing is less based on what you majored in versus having a passion to bring what you know to book publishing. So much is changing in the industry with e-readers and the many different formats people can come to a story through now. It’s an exciting time. Anyway, I digress. First and foremost, you must love books. Second, any background with sales, marketing, business, and online marketing/search know-how – COMBINED with loving books – would probably make you a very attractive candidate – for what I do, anyway.
Describe what a typical day looks like for you: I run some pretty exciting reports every morning. That’s a constant. Past that, it varies by day. Some are spent coordinating content with marketing, having phone calls with Amazon to make sure we’re good on stock, brainstorming new ways (or improving existing ways) of merchandising, managing Amazon’s early-reviewer program, keeping my team on track so we’re submitting book nominations on time. And somewhere in there I eat a sandwich.
Three qualities/skills you should have to excel at this job: Multi-tasking, being able to see the forest for the trees, knowing Microsoft Excel quick-key shortcuts. Yes, you must excel at Excel.
What is your least favorite aspect of your job? I spend a lot of time in Excel. While this in itself is fine, one day I’m probably going to need glasses. Also, there was poop on the floor of the bathroom once. True story.
EW POOP?! Haha. Biggest perk of your job: Free books! My awesome team! Did I mention the free books?
Tell us one of your best memories on the job: It’s always gratifying when you’re a super advocate for a book you love and it gets noticed. We send Amazon a monthly slideshow of our top books to get them on their radar for when they pick their Best of the Month books, and everyone on the team puts a burst on their favorite. (It’s the little things that make my day.) This month one of Amazon’s BotM books was Kevin Brockmeier’s THE ILLUMINATION, which was my pick for February! Not that I think that tipped the hand, but it was validating that someone else shares my undeniably good taste in literature.
What do you think the biggest misconception is about your position/industry? That it’s dying? It’s not dying. I want to punch people when I hear that. It’s changing. And change can be good.
Complete this sentence. This job is not for you if.. you can’t juggle a hundred things at once, and remember to finish the second thing you started that morning.
And now for something random to end the interview...what is one job you just don't think you'd be cut out for? Club promoter. So outside the realm of my personality. I would be the worst club promoter in the world.