My name is Nick McAlpin, a recent graduate from the University of Cambridge’s MPhil Social Anthropology programme. It’s been almost a month since I joined Wordcatcher Publishing as its Marketing and Public Relations Assistant. Before this, I had never worked with books at all, but draw on extensive experience in the related field of journalism.
In the short time I’ve been here, I’ve already learned a huge amount from working alongside our Managing Director, David Norrington. Before I started, David warned me job titles are almost redundant in small companies, but only now do I truly understand. In recent weeks, I’ve dipped my hands into almost every area of the business: from book metadata, to website maintenance, to job description writing. Doing so while working from home has been a challenge, admittedly, but I’m now fully acclimatised to the telecommuter lifestyle.
The miscellaneous tasks I’ve performed don’t mean our marketing and PR efforts have gone on the back burner, though – not in the slightest. We’ve already resumed a regular posting schedule on our website, and are looking forward to receiving more submissions from authors very soon. I’ve had the pleasure of proofreading and editing articles about the Turin Shroud, feminism and even elephants.
Not only have I learned lots about these topics, but I’ve started to familiarise myself with Wordcatcher’s authors. I’m beginning to know some of your names, writing styles, backlist titles and genres, which should help me when trying to drive sales.
I’ve produced content, too – some of which you’ve hopefully seen. I had the chance to review some excellent research by Arts Council England and give my thoughts on what the top five benefits of reading are. That really wasn’t an easy task . . . there are just so many!
In an effort to promote our authors and their books, I’ve also been keeping up with the news. In a few instances, when current affairs and a Wordcatcher title align, I’ve crafted press releases linking the two.
The idea is that, for instance, the book Virtual Facilitation and Meetings addresses Welsh teachers’ worries, now that their classrooms are back online. Similarly, we sent out a press release about John F. Wake’s Darkest Cardiff, given the recent piece in Wales Online about the unsolved Georgian-era attempted murder which tarnishes the tale of the first Severn tunnel. This exercise has given me the chance to brush up on my press release-writing skills. I have to say, it’s been a strange experience not being on the receiving end!
Press releases are an area in which I bring fresh insight to the team: as a journalist, I know what journalists want to see, and can write in ways more attractive to them. Hundreds of outlets have run with the stories we’ve sent in so far.
Moreover, to my mind, the most exciting thing I’ve been involved with is creating our new video marketing strategy. After some test runs with David, I recently sat down with Denis G. Campbell about his 2018 book, Breathing Hope and Fear: Egypt Since 2011.
As we approach the tenth anniversary of the 25 January Egyptian Revolution, we will be releasing a series of Q&A videos with Denis. Be sure to check back and learn what went wrong with the Revolution, why Denis wrote his book in the style he did, and what the future might hold for the Middle East.
With repetition, my video editing skills and interview style are fast improving. As such, going forward, we hope to expand our video efforts and work with other authors to spread the message about their equally fantastic works.
I’m looking forward to geting to know you all on a more personal basis over the coming weeks and months, and wish you all a very merry Christmas and the happiest of new years. Let’s hope for a brighter 2021, and an end to coronavirus.