English and American Literature MA
My time at Kent has given me so much life experience as well as bolstered my love of literature… As well as of course my editor role at the University’s newspaper which directly helped me get my first internship.
What attracted you to your course, and to Kent?
I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember and as a teenager, I grew to love films as well. Kent was one of the few universities which was not only ranked highly individually in those subjects but combined those programmes for a degree. Also, the idea of studying at the Canterbury campus and living in a city with such a rich literary history (and history in general) really enticed me.
What are you doing now?
I’m working in book publishing. I’ve had several roles. First as a marketing intern at one of the best literary divisions in the UK, then very briefly as an admin assistant at a creative writing school within a prestigious literary agency, and most recently as an editorial assistant and marketing assistant at an esteemed publishing division working on literary and commercial fiction and a broad range of non-fiction.
Which aspects of your time at Kent did you enjoy the most, and why?
I loved a lot about my time at Kent. I would say the teaching on my two subjects during my undergraduate degree was top-class. I felt that the faculty were passionate and experts in their field. I also felt the careers service was extremely helpful and there were lots of interesting programmes and events on my courses. In addition, I really enjoyed participating in student media which I felt was well organised, especially on the student newspaper which I felt was valuable experience.
How did you get into your current role, and what advice would you give to anyone wanting to follow a similar career?
I got into my current role by being curious, asking lots of questions and networking. There are lots of transferable skills in publishing and you don’t necessarily need a degree or an MA, though they can be helpful. Though not in publishing, I certainly felt the excellent teaching and the range of subjects explored in both my degrees at Kent helped me speak much more intelligently about literature which helped in interviews – directly in my first role. Nonetheless I think it was the extra-curricular activities I did outside my studies, being an editor of the student newspaper, a volunteer role I did for a literature podcast etc.
For anyone looking to get into book publishing you need to be curious about all aspects of the industry and not just go in thinking with a particular view and mindset of the books you like to read and the role you’d like to have. Particularly if you’re interested in working in editorial, you absolutely need to be curious about all aspects of the industry as at a mid or senior level it’s essentially a project management role. It’s great to have an idea and some focus but be open and curious. It’s an industry which relies heavily on teamwork and collaboration like many others. Twitter is a useful tool for networking, I would suggest making an account and look at publisher’s pages, their imprint pages, people in departments you’re interested in. Don’t be afraid to make contact but approach it in the right way. Do your research first so you know what questions to ask. These two pages provide useful overviews of the industry:
‘How to get into publishing’ and ‘How publishing works’.
Remain passionate and curious. Good luck!
How has your time at Kent helped you in your career so far?
My time at Kent has helped me in that it has given me so much life experience as well as bolstered my love of literature, that I’m confident that it’s an industry I want to work in a long time. As well as of course my editor role at the university’s newspaper which directly helped me get my first internship.
Are you still in touch with any of your friends from University?
I am yes, I’ve made a handful of close friends who I hope will be lifelong friends as well as many acquaintances I speak to occasionally.
Did you work or undertake any work experience whilst at Kent? What did you do? Did you find it was helpful in your studies and has it benefited your career to date?
Not directly, no, unless you count the previously mentioned role at the newspaper. As mentioned that did help me immensely in getting my first internship as well as several other interviews and a few job offers I turned down for the internship.
Could you describe a typical day in your current role?
Currently, I’m a marketing assistant working in the communications department and a typical day usually involves some work on briefing designers, both internal and freelance, on digital assets for social channels, writing copy for social channels and delivering and scheduling content for them, designing my own assets on Canva, researching for partnerships, working with organisations, brands and publications on partnerships, working with bloggers and doing numerous other ad-hoc administrative tasks.
What are your future plans/aspirations?
I plan to work in book publishing for the foreseeable future and in the next five years, to be a key contributor in a mid-level role to books I’d love to publish. I’m still trying to figure out the exact path but I’m mostly interested in editorial and either marketing or publicity.
What is your favourite memory of Kent?
I have a really fond memory of graduating in Canterbury Cathedral and numerous other social events I have on campus with friends and at societies.
What advice would you give to somebody thinking of coming to Kent?
Enjoy the ride, the first few months are a whirlwind, but you will miss your time here when it’s over. Remain focused but also have some fun!
How would you describe your time at Kent in three words?
Rewarding, creative, enjoyable.
Are you currently working, or have you recently worked on any interesting projects that you would like to tell us a bit more about?
I’ve been working closely on the marketing and publicity campaign for an author I really admire, it’s called Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour and it was published recently and I pitched to book to influencers, secured an Instagram live event, worked on the digital assets for Amazon and secured promotion in some literary magazines.