Publishing is an interesting intersection of business and the arts. That’s actually one of the things I love about it, the opportunity to mix lots of different fields.
In a small publishing company like ThunderStone Books, we don’t have the luxury of having different departments to handle each aspect of the company. Generally, we have two distinct areas we need to work on: production and marketing. Production is a mix of creative work and technical analysis. We look at sketches from our illustrator, read the latest edits of the books we’re working on, typeset the finished product, and design supplemental materials.
Marketing is a more difficult task to manage; it can easily expand to fill whatever time we have available. There’s always more people to contact, more emails to reply to, and more ads to run. Marketing primarily becomes an issue of priorities. I really enjoy making book trailers for our new releases, but is that more effective than sending out press releases? What about emailing bookstores to get our books stocked? The near-infinite amount of potential marketing channels makes it incredibly easy to spin your wheels while accomplishing absolutely nothing.
Additionally, our tasks vary based on book content. We focus on children’s education, primarily science and Chinese language. We will answer science questions, research experiments, study Chinese culture, and translate foreign languages. Publishing is not only art and business, but also whatever the books are about.
It’s often tough to switch gears and start working in a completely separate part of the business, but it’s also what I love about this job. On any given day, there’s a great chance that I will be using Mandarin, After Effects, and a myriad of marketing and business skills. And I learn more every day.