Interviewee: Hannah Billie Perry
Occupation: Marketing and PR Assistant at Pavilion Books Co. Ltd
How did you find contacts and start putting yourself out there?
I used Twitter a lot! Twitter is a great tool for you to connect with people in the publishing industry, as well as hearing about different opportunities. I’d really recommend following @pubinterns, run by my friends Emma and Chloe. They publish a list each week of the different work experience, internships and entry-level positions available, as well as tips for how to write your cover letter and more. For myself personally, I followed and interacted with people who do the sorts of jobs that I was looking for – it’s amazing how much industry knowledge you can pick up online!
What could I be doing now to achieve your career in the future?
If you’re at university, I’d recommend trying to get some office experience under your belt. This doesn’t have to be anything to do with publishing – being a receptionist, for example, is great experience for learning how to interact and conduct yourself in a work setting. I’d also recommend looking for work experience early, as many programs are often booked 6-9 months in advance.
What are some of the main reasons that a publisher would reject someone’s work?
The biggest one, I think, is when the book just isn’t right for the company. I work in a non-fiction publishing house, and the amount of fiction manuscripts that turn up on our editors’ desks is just incredible. Apart from anything, it shows that you clearly haven’t researched the company, and publishing folk don’t tend to like that! Other than that, a manuscript might be rejected if it’s not easily marketable, or just plain isn’t very good.
What has been the biggest struggle of your career?
Getting my first job! I did lots of internships and placements, but the hardest thing to do is always to bridge the gap between intern and employee. Persistence and the ability to not take setbacks too hard is key.
What has been the most rewarding moment of your career thus far and why?
Last summer I got to work at YALC (the Young Adult Literary Convention that runs every year as part of LFCC), with the publishing house I was with at the time. I got to meet a huge number of bloggers and book enthusiasts that I’d been chatting to for ages online, and it was really great! It made me realise how right it was for me to stick with interning to get to where I wanted to be. Other than that, managing Jacqueline Wilson’s fan mail when I was interning at PRH made my eleven-year-old self pretty happy!
Lastly, if you could give one tip or piece of advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?
You want to write? Write. Don’t think about it, don’t make long, lengthy plans, just grab a piece of paper, a pen, a quiet spot, and DO IT. Good luck!
Thank you so much to Hannah Billie Perry for answering some questions & for giving an insight in to the industry from her perspective! It was a pleasure to work with you, Hannah!
You guys can follow Hannah on twitter by clicking HERE.
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