Fiction & Drama
Lisa Rookes on the inspiration behind The Gallows Tree
Answering the #FridayFive today is the fantastic Sarah Jeffcoate, marketing manager at Simon & Schuster UK.
Tell us a bit about your job?
I’m a marketing manager at Simon & Schuster UK, so I help to make sure everyone knows about the brilliant books we’re publishing. From acquisition onwards, I’m thinking about the best ways to reach consumers (both traditional book buyers and new audiences) with creative and impactful marketing. I also make sure sales are equipped with everything they need to get booksellers really excited about our titles, so that they stand out from the crowd. I work across both fiction and non-fiction titles, with a focus on crime/thrillers and romance, and I’m particularly interested in experimenting with TikTok activity as a way to work with and reach younger readers.
What are the key ingredients for success?
Be willing to experiment, work outside of your comfort zone and try new things – that’s where the magic happens. There are lots of ingredients to build the foundation of a great marketing campaign, but they come to life when you get creative.
Could you describe a normal day?
There is absolutely no such thing as a typical day. Every campaign looks different, and will also be at a different stage of the process, so it could be meeting with authors and agents to discuss and brainstorm campaign ideas, briefing agencies to book in exciting activity, setting up social campaigns, building assets and creating POS for bookshops… the list goes on. Never a dull day in the marketing department.
For those trying to break into the industry, could you explain how you got to where you are today?
I came to my role in a bit of a roundabout way. I graduated with a degree in Ancient History, with a clear goal of working in publishing. I, like many others starting out, applied for a lot of editorial roles, but really jumped on any opportunity I could find, including a temporary role as a Sales Admin Assistant at Octopus. After not having any luck landing a permanent publishing job, I ended up in a PR role within the beauty industry. After a few years there, I used that experience to get a job in PR with Hachette Children’s Group (I did my dissertation on mythical creatures in children’s literature which also provided an interesting talking point when interviewing), and from there, moved into marketing.
I hadn’t really considered PR or marketing when I was first applying straight out of university, and now I know that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, so it’s worth trying to get experience in other departments, or other areas of publishing. In my experience, working in another industry was really useful in helping me land my first publishing role.
What are you reading, watching and listening to now?
I’ve just started reading The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake – I loved The Atlas Six so this has been one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and I also just finished Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, which has been sat on my TBR for a while now, and was absolutely fantastic. I’m really drawn to fantasy books and crime/thrillers, and I read a lot – so I’m in the right industry!
In busy/stressful times (like Autumn in publishing!) I always like a comforting rewatch so I’m currently rewatching Grey’s Anatomy, which I love. I also just finished Only Murders in the Building, which again is a very fun, comforting show, despite being a bit murdery! Listening wise, I’m having a real moment with audiobooks – I just finished listening to Jennette McCurdy’s memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died, which was brilliant.