“You don’t have to be an expert to have a good idea…”
Olivia was on The Scheme 15. She’s now a Publicity Officer with Michael Joseph, where she completed one of her placements. Here’s her take on her Scheme experience…
Hello, Olivia, tell us a bit about where you’re from, your background and what your role is here at Penguin Random House?
After studying English Lit at Sussex Uni, I moved back in with my parents and in a panic, got a job selling procurement software for 11 months before I applied to the Scheme in 2015. After an amazing 13 months learning all about how publishing worked, I was made Publicity Assistant at Michael Joseph!
You made it through The Scheme 2015 to become one of our final four. What made you apply in the first place?
I was sent a link to The Scheme website by a friend and was instantly excited. It didn’t sound like a normal job advertisement – it sounded genuinely fun and something I wanted to be a part of!
What was the best thing about The Scheme?
How HR and the two divisions I was placed in looked after me. Everyone was so keen to make my internship worthwhile and interesting.
What was most challenging about The Scheme?
I would say when I first joined, learning all the publishing lingo and abbreviations. It’s easy for someone who’s worked in publishing for a while to forget how alien it can all sound to a newbie!
What did you learn from taking part in The Scheme?
You don’t have to be an expert to have a good idea. Push yourself to speak up in a meeting if you think you have something to say! Opinions are always welcome.
On to your role now…share with us a something you’ve worked on that you’re proud of – pictures too please!
Michael Joseph publish quite a few celebrity titles…I was lucky enough to help Alan Carr sign 2000 copies of his new book. He is as witty and cheeky as he appears on TV, I was in stitches this day!
How would you sum up publicity in three words?
Loud, busy, rewarding.
What does your to-do list normally look like?
Updating our publishing schedule for the year, booking meeting rooms, processing invoices, writing a press release, pitching to journalists, researching venues for a launch party, ordering flowers!
You worked in Marketing during The Scheme. What’s the difference between publicity and marketing?
Marketing is essentially paid for (digital advertising, outdoor posters, partnerships with other business) whereas publicity is all the free reviews and features you can secure by working with journalists in the media!
What’s been your biggest surprise about working in publishing?
That no day in the office is ever the same!
What one piece of advice you wish you’d been given when you started looking for a career in publishing?
Read book reviews in newspapers and online, sign up to newsletters, go to an author event at your nearest Waterstones !
And finally, what advice would you give to someone deciding whether or not to apply for The Scheme?
Honestly, just go for it. Immerse yourself into your ideas for a couple of days, streamline them and then jump in to the process of The Scheme application. At best, you’ll embark upon a seriously brilliant opportunity and at worst; you’ll receive great feedback if unsuccessful and meet some like-minded people along the way!