Claire J.

Executive Publisher
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Claire J.
English and Related Literature
English
Undergraduate
James
1999
United Kingdom

My employment

Executive Publisher
Emerald Publishing
United Kingdom
Journalism and publishing
Large business (250+ employees)
2015

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A day in the life of a Executive Publisher in the United Kingdom

When I graduated I thought I’d go into fiction publishing - academic publishing wasn’t at all on my radar but it’s incredibly dynamic and a real opportunity to help disseminate research which is making a genuine impact.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

Emerald is a global social science and engineering publishing company, based in Bingley, Yorkshire.

What do you do?

I head up the Humanities and Social Sciences commissioning team at Emerald, and also oversee the content strategy for our teaching case collection. My role involves line management of a team of Publishers and Publishing Assistants, and managing the pipeline of content into our books, journals and cases programmes. We work closely with a range of other departments and particularly the sales functions.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

Straight after graduating in English I completed a PgDip in Publishing at the London College of Printing. I’d originally intended to complete the full MA but was offered my first role mid-way through and decided to save money so cut it down to the PgDip. I’d completed several short work experience placements during the course and it was this which helped me get my first Editorial Assistant position. Moving into academic publishing rather than fiction was initially a practical choice - I was offered roles at a legal publisher and a trade publisher on the same day but the salary for an editorial assistant at the trade publisher didn’t even cover my rent. Since then though I’ve always stayed in academic publishing because I love working with people who are passionate about their research - I’ve worked on many different lists, with different challenges, but helping make research more widely available and developing outlets for this is always exciting.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

When I graduated I thought I’d go into fiction publishing - academic publishing wasn’t at all on my radar but it’s incredibly dynamic and a real opportunity to help disseminate research which is making a genuine impact.

Describe your most memorable day at work

Presenting a session at a conference in Cape Town last summer - international travel is (was!) a massive perk of the role and the opportunity to meet our authors and editors is always fantastic.

What’s your work environment and culture like?

I love the culture of my company - it’s very flexible (I live in York so travel to the office a couple of days per week) and staff are trusted and empowered to balance their home and work lives. I work four days over five to help manage childcare, and many staff work non-core hours. In the publishing team we usually have quite a bit of travel, both nationally and internationally for editor meetings and conferences. Our office has grown considerably in recent years - we have a canteen and a gym, and a friendly and informal working environment.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

I ran the Theatre in Education programme which helped me develop organisation and influencing skills.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

Anything that sets you apart from other candidates - it doesn’t have to be vast amounts of unpaid work experience (although some examples of even short placements are good) - even just demonstrating you’ve taken the time to research the company and think about what its challenges might be is a good start. If you’re applying for a job in publishing don’t say you want to be a journalist! I see that a lot...

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

Getting into publishing and the different types of roles available in the industry.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Claire’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Claire a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Claire to be your mentor.

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