Answering the #FridayFive today is Molly Walker-Sharp. Molly is Assistant Editor at Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins, who publish the Alfie books by Northbank’s Rachel Wells.
Tell us a bit about your job?
I’m Assistant Editor at Avon, HarperCollins, working across a broad list of women’s fiction, crime thriller and historical/saga titles. Commercial fiction is at the heart of everything I do, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have my own stable of authors – including the lovely Rachel Wells, author of the Alfie books – and assist my fellow Avon editors on some of their authors too, meaning there’s always plenty to sink my teeth into.
What are the key ingredients for success?
I’d say the most important thing is pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and taking every opportunity that comes your way – even if it terrifies you! Whenever I’ve challenged myself to do something that I’d normally avoid – like presenting to the whole company at sales conferences or going to networking events – I’ve always been glad I did. Going above and beyond never goes unnoticed either.
Describe a normal day?
It’s a cliché, but there really is no such thing as a normal day for me – and that’s one of the things I love most about my job! I could be editing, writing copy or coming up with title suggestions, briefing a cover, taking a new title to acquisitions, putting a manuscript into production, doing metadata, answering emails, meeting with my authors or agents – or often all of the above. Generally, I find the early days in the week revolve around meetings and I try to block out some time for creative thinking on Fridays as they tend to be quieter. In the evenings, I you’ll find me either spending time with friends, running SYP London events, or at hot yoga.
For those trying to break into the industry, could you explain how you got to where you are today?
My route to publishing involved a good few internships, a lot of hard work, and plenty of rejections. It was a stressful time, but incredibly exciting too because I knew that I’d found a career I would truly love – and my last internship, with Avon, turned into my permanent publishing home! But, if you can’t get to London for internships, don’t worry – remember that knowledge of the market will get you far, and I also found that a lot of interviewers responded well to my administrative background, because being a safe pair of hands is key to a lot of entry-level jobs. Industry professionals are always happy to chat to you about publishing as well, so don’t be afraid to ask (my DMs are always open, @molly_ws!), and I’d also really suggest getting involved with the SYP as there are factions all over the UK.
What are you reading, watching and listening to now?
I’m an audiobook junkie, and I’m currently listening to Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris. I’ll probably listen to something Christmassy next, as I’m very much in full jingle bells mode! I don’t get much time to watch TV, so, when I do, I tend to watch Netflix or reruns; I’m bingeing on Gavin and Stacey at the moment because I was in need of some light relief! But I also love a good crime drama – I really enjoyed A Confession and I’m so excited for the second series of Liar, which I think is finally coming out soon… And, of course, I’m currently reading all the great manuscripts that are coming our way after Frankfurt Book Fair!