Wednesday, 15 November 2017

#InsideStory Hachette Publishing Event 2017

I’ve always loved books. Ever since I was little I’ve loved reading stories and would much prefer to do so than go outside. As I’ve grown up, the love of books has just grown so what better industry to work in than Publishing?!

I found out about the #InsideStory Event on a total whim. I’d liked a lot of publishing houses on Facebook so I could keep in the loop with all that they were up to, when a sponsored post came up for Hachette, advertising this event. I read through what it was all about, and it sounded perfect! I knew that I would love a job in publishing, I just didn’t really know which sector I would like to go in as there is a wide range of different jobs, not just editorial as most people think!

The application for consisted of sending our CV and an answer to the question, why we should be selected for the event. This seemed like such a daunting and open-ended question that I didn’t know where to start! I managed to write some waffle about not knowing which area of publishing I wanted to go into and how an event like this would help me figure it out, filled in the rest of the application and send it off!

When they tweeted that they had sent out the emails inviting the lucky people to the event I checked mine and was disheartened to find no email. I was a bit upset but knew that they were only accepting 60 people onto the event, so I tried to forget about it. A week before the event was happening, I woke up to an email saying that they would love to have me at the event if I was still free! I automatically replied that I would love to attend and sent them all the relevant information before dashing downstairs to tell my mum! I can only assume that someone dropped out and there was a free space available, which is why I got my invite later than everyone else!
Having to get up at 5:30 was not something I was looking forward to, but I knew that it was for something that would hopefully help me in life so I pushed through and, with the help of my boyfriend waking me up, managed to get on a train at 6:30. Now, this is probably a pretty obvious statement, but getting the Tube at 8am is horrible!! I eventually managed to squeeze into a carriage and make my way to Blackfriars. I was a little early, so decided to go and sit by the river for a bit to try and calm myself down and sort myself out. I eventually made my way back to the building and got talking to another one of the successful candidates on the way there. We got our names ticked off a list and then stood in the reception area with everyone else waiting. There was a little small talk going on around, people trying to make polite conversation, and a few people reading.

We eventually got taken down to the conference room, given a name badge and told to find our table on the seating chart. As everyone filtered in each table engaged in small talk, asking what everyone studied or did for a living as we rifled through our goody bags, which contained one of Hachette’s hottest new book releases. The day began with an introduction from people who work in HR and given an overview of how the day was going to run.

We had talks from a multitude of different sectors, each one telling us how they got into the industry and a job description. Each speaker was only given about 10 minutes, which didn’t really seem like enough time to me. It felt a little rushed. I would have preferred they talked more about what an average day looked like for them, as the job descriptions given were a little basic, and could have been filled with more information. Some of the speakers did this, the publicity and marketing speeches told us about some of the most memorable campaigns they had seen which was a nice insight into the day to day life. I just expected to hear a little bit more about what they actually did.

After each speaker was done, they did come around to each table to help us with our book pitches, which was a task that was running throughout the day. Each table had been given a different genre and told to create a book that we would have to pitch to a couple of the staff members who pretended to be an author and an agent, and then each group were given feedback. After each talk, we were given 10 minutes to work on that section of the pitch, which didn’t really feel like enough time and my group, and I think some others as well, fell behind a little. We were then given half an hour at the end of the day to work on our pitches and put it all together, which felt a bit rushed as the day had already run over slightly!

We had a quick talk on CV’s and cover letters at the end of the day before being taken up to the roof for some drinks and a chance to mingle with the staff. This was a nice change of pace as we had all been in a room with no windows for the whole day and a lot of us had had very early starts! There were wine, beers and juice for us upon arrival and we were then left to our own devices. I think most people headed straight out to the garden to get a picture of the stunning view!

Heading back inside I stayed with the people who had been on my table that day and we all grabbed a drink and got our CV’s as there were staff members dotted around the room for us to show them to. This was very helpful as it allowed us to get some feedback and tips on how to make ourselves stand out more and how to get noticed. It was also great to be able to talk to some of the staff in a more informal manner, about their jobs and any projects they were working on at the moment.

Overall, it was a very interesting day. I learnt a lot about the publishing industry, we got to hear from some very inspirational speakers, a few who had unconventional routes into the industry which gives me hope! And it made me consider a couple of jobs that I had never thought of before, which is always a good thing.

Despite running over a bit and some of the speakers being rushed, it was a very good and insightful day. The staff were all so friendly and helpful and you could just tell that they loved their jobs and wanted to encourage as many of us to join their world as possible. I would definitely recommend attending the event if you are unsure about a career in publishing as it was very helpful to me! As the campaign stated, it was hoping to be an #InsideStory #InsightIntoPublishing event, and it delivered on both fronts!

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