Our support in championing rising stars spans across a range of industries in the sector, from packaging to paper. We love finding out more about the roles our award winners are excelling in to demonstrate the wealth of career paths the sector has to offer.
Cameron Myers, Editorial Assistant at Hodder & Stoughton and 2020 Print Futures Award winner spoke to us about his entry into the world of publishing and what life is like in editorial.
“I’m glad to be working in an environment where the curiosity that led me here is still integral to what we do.”
How did you get into the industry?
I got a permanent job in publishing through Creative Access, a social enterprise that helps people from under-represented communities enter into and flourish in the creative industries. I started at Hodder & Stoughton as an Editorial Assistant intern for non-fiction and four years later I’m lucky enough to be a part of the same amazing team.
What appealed to you about the industry you are in?
I think I was just curious to start with. I wanted to peek behind the curtain of an industry that was on the other side of something I loved to do – reading. I wanted to know what went into publishing a book, who was involved, and whether it looked like how it does on television (it doesn’t!). Years later, I’m glad to be working in an environment where the curiosity that led me here is still integral to what we do.
What does your role involve?
It’s a cliché to say but it’s true that no two days are ever exactly the same in editorial. You get to work across all sorts of varying projects, all at the same time, which can be fun – and sometimes a little chaotic! It’s a mix of admin, creative and collaborative work. And as an assistant editor my role is a split between working with senior editors on their lists (scheduling, organising freelancers, liaising with agents and authors, writing copy) and looking for exciting projects and authors to acquire titles for my own list. It can be a bit of a balancing act at times but it’s ultimately all very rewarding stuff.
What is your award going to allow you to do?
I really wanted to find out more about how the publishing industry can continue to embrace and use technology, so I’m using the funding I’ve received to learn how to code. The course I’m on starts right at the very beginning and doesn’t assume you know anything to start with, which is great. I think it will be interesting to see how I can apply what I learn to what I do both inside and outside of work: building and developing websites etc. I’m also keen to see what I can do to make the admin side of my job more efficient so I can spend more time on the fun, creative things I love to do.
“Be curious. Ask questions. Get to know people and have fun with it.”
What has surprised you most about the industry you work in?
I didn’t really know what publishing was like to start with, so I was initially quite shocked at how white and middle-class it was (and is). There were moments, particularly in my first 6 months, where I felt like a bit of a sore thumb. But I do believe things are changing, and what has surprised me more recently is how engaged people seem to be in making the industry more inclusive. It’s not a secret to anyone that issues around low pay and representation in publishing need addressing. And it’s encouraging to see how much more people at all levels are willing to grapple with these bigger issues.
What would you advise other young people looking to get into the same sector?
Talk to people. I know it can be difficult sometimes – we are an industry full of introverts after all. But it really does help to know people who are both in publishing and who are trying to get a job in publishing. In an industry where it often feels like everyone knows everyone, networks and networking are crucial. The Society of Young Publishers (SYP) is a great place to start. Attend (or log in to) panel events, Q&As, socials etc. Be curious. Ask questions. Get to know people and have fun with it.
“I really just want to be doing more of what I’m doing now: publishing great authors and thought-provoking non-fiction.”
Where do you turn for support in your career?
I think it’s important to have a bunch of people you can turn to for support and advice in different areas of your professional life. I have great line managers, a large group of publishing friends & colleagues, and some great mentors such as Rebecca Smart (a mentor through Creative Access).
Do you have anyone that you look up to in the industry?
There are too many to name, but here are a few: Briony Gowlett and Rupert Lancaster (I work with both of them at Hodder), Rebecca Smart (a brilliant mentor, and MD of publishing at DK), and Josie Dobrin (CEO of Creative Access).
What are your aspirations for the future of your career?
The next stage for me is to become an Editor, but beyond that I’m interested to see where things take me. Ultimately, I really just want to be doing more of what I’m doing now: publishing great authors and thought-provoking non-fiction. If I can keep going on that path I’ll be happy!
If you’re 18-30 and looking to develop your skills for career progression, our Print Futures Awards could be for you. Awards are closed for 2020 but find out about the 2021 awards by signing up to our newsletter.