Continuing our look through the world of publishing, we have Ross Taylor who is both from and lives in Scotland, but works for publishers down in England in quite a few ways…
My name is Ross Taylor and I work remotely for both Miles Kelly and Abrams & Chronicle Books. Most of the time I work from my Garden Office (in Sunny Alva, Clackmannanshire) but a couple of days each month I fly down to the South East of England.
I like to start my work really early in the morning. It is rare for me to be logged on any later than 7am. I work best in the morning before my email inbox starts to fill up. As I split my time between two or more clients I always work to a pretty strict timetable to ensure that no time is wasted. Therefore whatever day it is I open my planner to make sure I stay on track. Each client has a plan that makes sure I have all my ducks in order and that everything is done in a methodical way.
For Miles Kelly I will start off by looking at how Amazon sales have done that week. I am looking to see if everything is on track and if Amazon have enough stock. I’ll then take the Bible and work out what sales have been added over the past week. I’ll then combine that data along with my sales and stock forecasts in order to work out if the business has a “Goldilocks” level of stock or if we need to print more, or indeed cancel some reprints if we are carrying too much.
I have a quote printed off on a poster above my desk “The biggest mistake in publishing is overestimating and printing too much”, and I truly believe it – I take it very seriously. Once I know where we stand on the whole I will cast my eye to the print cut, putting forward my suggestions for print quantities on runs printing about 3 to 5 months in the future. After that’s all done I will switch across to Nielsen and review what our competitors have been doing.
At Abrams and Chronicle I start by looking at week on week sales for key titles and how they are doing against comparables. I’ll then have a look to see how sales are on Amazon and if all lines are selling and have plenty of stock. Next I’ll go through unsupplied orders to see if any loose ends need plugged. Once I’ve done all of that I get stuck in to my main work. Each week I take the entire front list and see how the titles are selling against a forecasting algorithm I created. I report back on the biggest gaps and put forward suggestions on where we might find more sales. I really enjoy doing this. I love spotting things and revealing them to management.
Whenever I have a spare minute I try to find ways in which my daily work can be simplified or sped up. I like building templates and macros where I just drop in raw data at one end and get useful and valuable information at the other – just like some weird Dr Seuss machinery!
If I could squeeze all my work down into one spreadsheet I would be in my element!
I’ve been in publishing for six years now and it is by far the best job I have ever done. I always want to work with books. I’m hoping for another 30 years before I finish!