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Friday Five: Chrissie Parker, Author Assistant at Zertex Media


Answering the #FridayFive today is Chrissie Parker, Author Assistant at Zertex Media


Tell us a bit about your job?

I’m an author assistant for Zertex Media, a digital-first publisher based in the Highlands of Scotland. The company imprints include Zertex Crime, Zertex Sci-Fi and Zertex Romance.

My job is to assist with the day-to-day administration, enabling the owners and authors to concentrate on the creative side of the business. I deal with correspondence including liaising with authors, industry partners and readers, calendar appointments, events, company procedures, and most importantly, the publication schedules. If it’s admin, I’m probably doing it!


What are the key ingredients for success?

Being organised and knowing how to communicate are incredibly important. I work methodically and I have trackers and task lists for a lot of my work, so I can ensure deadlines are met and we have information to refer to if needed.

Open communication with the team, authors, and anyone else we work with is essential. It ensures everyone knows what’s going on and they’re kept up to date, especially if there are deadlines or changes during a process.

If you’re organised and can communicate well with everyone you deal with, it helps create good working relationships and a great working environment.


Could you describe a normal day?

I work from home in a dedicated office. So, once I’ve grabbed a cup of tea, I head to my desk and log on. As a team we communicate through Slack, but we also receive emails from publishing contacts, readers, and various industry partners. So, the first thing I do, is go through my emails and Slack messages and deal with everything.

Then I’ll check my task list in Notion which is where I keep track of what I’m working on, as well as wider team tasks. Some will be rolling monthly tasks, others are relating to the publishing schedule, events, or media. It’s incredibly important to keep track of the publishing schedule and make sure that all tasks in the process, such as AIS, uploads to Stison/Nielsen and forthcoming promotions are kept to deadline.

I also pay invoices, add events to the calendar, flag things up to relevant members of the team as well as keep track of early reviews and media mentions, so they can be reported each week.

No two days are the same as there’s so much variety in my role!


For those trying to break into the industry, could you explain how you got to where you are today?

I have a creative background, having worked in live theatre and TV/film production for decades. The skills I gained and used in those industry roles are so similar to the job I do now. I’ve also worked as a freelance writer and I’m an author in my spare time. The transferable skills such as organisation, working to tight deadlines, and dealing with a varied range of people, enabled me to move into publishing. It was a natural step for me, and one I’m enjoying.


What are you reading, watching and listening to now?

I’ve not long finished reading an old favourite, The Wind Eye by Robert Westall and I’m now reading Debbie Young’s Sophie Sayers series. I’m also wading my way through a large pile of history books for a research project.

I’m currently watching Alice Roberts’ new documentary, Ancient Egypt by Train. I love history and find Egypt fascinating – the only downside is that it makes me want to jump on a plane to visit the country again!

I don’t listen to audio books or podcasts, but I do listen to music. Right now, my iTunes jumps between artists like Tori Amos and Vanessa Carlton, as well as lesser-known artists such as Love Child Electric and The Moxy.

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