Moira speaks to The Publishing Profile about working in academic publishing and expanding her reading taste.
Hi! My name is Moira and I'm the Journals Marketing Assistant at Liverpool University Press. I'm responsible for dealing with all publicity and advertising for LUP's 34 journals, publishing in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
How did you get into publishing?
After graduating from the University of Liverpool I enrolled in the university's 'Kickstart Internship' scheme and was offered a position with Liverpool University Press. Interning at the Press for three months gave me the opportunity to fully explore all aspects of academic publishing. I spent weeks at a time working in the finance department, shadowing editorial, and getting stuck into books marketing. When my internship was up I was offered a permanent role and since then I've moved away from books and have worked in academic journals marketing from October 2018.
What does a typical day in your current role look like?
Every day is different and varies depending on how many newly published journal issues we have at that moment, but I’m nearly always trying to balance my work on current projects with organising future plans for the year. Most days I’m working on socials, scheduling email campaigns, designing adverts, and updating the blog. Ordinarily, I would also be doing a lot of work on conference marketing but COVID-19 has naturally had a huge impact on this, so we’re using the time that is now available to us as an opportunity to refocus our attention towards online marketing, as that’s the only way to reach our audience at the moment.
Has your attitude to reading changed since working in the publishing industry? How has it changed your reading taste or the genre of books you usually read?
It is such a pleasure to work with people who love reading. Getting to chat about recent prize winners or upcoming releases has definitely attributed to my uptake in reading over the last few years. I wouldn’t say that my tastes have changed significantly, but I’ve certainly been introduced to countless books by my colleagues and am much more aware of what’s new on the publishing scene.
Where do you buy or access your books?
I will hold my hands up and admit that until very recently Amazon was my go-to for ordering books. However, I’ve used www.hive.co.uk for my last few purchases as a percentage from the sale can be donated to a local bookshop of my choice.
What books have you been reading in lockdown? Do these books typify your usual reading taste?
Like many others, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement I have been reading books by black authors. These include Jacqueline Woodson’s Red at the Bone, Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved. It’s not unusual for me to read a book with the theme of race at its core, but I have recently committed myself to extensively read books by black authors.
What’s the best book you’ve received as a gift?
My grandma once gave me White Teeth for my birthday so I can thank her for introducing me to Zadie Smith, who is now one of my favourite authors. The book describes the way that families navigate unconditional love, expectation and disappointment, jealousy and competition, as well as what it’s like to be first- and second-generation immigrants. I remember reading the last few pages of this book on a train journey and willing there to be delays so I could finish it before my stop! It’s one of those books that will make you want to grab the nearest pen and underline everything as each sentence is so brilliant.
What is your most beautiful book?
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy has a gorgeous cover, showing a body of water with floating lotus leaves and a single pink flower. I also love the cover for Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation, the bright pink bold text clashing with the traditional portrait of a young woman looking utterly bored and close to rolling her eyes nails the tone of the book and is definitely a striking one for the shelf.
What is the oldest book on your shelf?
Right now I’m almost 200 miles away from my bookshelves as I’m isolating with my parents, so I’m having to rely heavily on memory and my Goodreads account to answer this question. In terms of publication date, the oldest book on my shelf is William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – bit of a cliché for an English Literature graduate really! I also have a very old edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, loaned to me by my grandparents.
Which authors or genres do you look forward to reading more of in the future?
I recently finished Circe by Madeline Miller, a book based on Greek myth, and really enjoyed it, so I’d definitely like to read more fantasy novels. I also look forward to reading more non-fiction titles, Caroline Criado Perez’s Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men is one that’s been on my to-read list for a while.
What are the best books you've read in 2020 so far?
Small Island by Andrea Levy is one that I finished in January but am still reminded of and think about all the time, particularly recently with Windrush Day in June. Educated by Tara Westover was also excellent and gave my book club a lot to talk about.
What are your most anticipated reads for the rest of the year?
Ghost Stories by Dolly Alderton! I devoured Everything I Know About Love at the beginning of this year and I’m really looking forward to seeing how her fiction writing compares. The book will be published in October, I think.
Which books should everybody read?
Tough question but I’d say Small Island by Andrea Levy, If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin, and Normal People by Sally Rooney (before watching the series!).
You can find Moira on Twitter @MoiraReid_.