Work in Publishing Week!

This week is Work in Publishing Week! To celebrate, we had a quick chat with our Publishing Director, Matthew Howard, about his experiences in Publishing and to offer some advice to those looking to start their journey in the industry. The industry can be daunting, but with its massive scope of departments – from editorial, design and marketing to audio, rights and sales – there's something for everyone, we can assure you that there's something in it for everyone!

Thanks for chatting with us Matthew!

1. How long have you worked in publishing?

Since 2010, so 13 years, but I worked with publishers as a rep for 5 years before that.

2. What does your day-to-day role entail?

Anything. One thing I love about being an indie publisher is the sheer variety of jobs that need doing. So it might be sales, marketing, logistics, commissioning, contract work ... the list goes on and on and means that every day is different.

3. What do you enjoy doing the most at work?

This is a difficult choice. I love editing and working with authors on finalising a text, but nothing beats the moment when you tell a new author that you want to publish their book. I'll never get tired of that.

4. What has publishing taught you? How has it changed you?

Above all it's taught me that I can negotiate, that I can sell, and that I can do both with a smile on my face. It's also taught me that being your own boss is the best thing ever, even if the pay is pretty lousy.

5. Do you have a favourite memory/experience that you could share of your time working in publishing?

Having Jackie Morris phone me up to tell me that Robert McFarlane had sent her another Lost Words poem to illustrate, and then read it to me. The words were magical, her illustrations just stunning, and the excitement we both felt as that book took shape was beyond compare. All this and it wasn't even a book I was publishing! Oh, and those moments when I had to pluck up all the courage I had and contact someone I admired in the hope they'd agree to work with me - this means you James Mayhew / Fflur Dafydd / Hugh Warwick / Mererid Hopwood.

6. What advice do you have for followers that aspire to work in the industry?

Don't do it for the money, there isn't any. But what there is is the best set of people possible. From authors to booksellers, editors to sales teams, the industry is populated with helpful, caring, sharing people. So you won't lack for support and advice. But also, if you really want to experience the best that publishing offers, try and immerse yourself in the work of an indie publisher - if only for a short period of work experience. There's nowhere better for learning about all the different aspects of publishing, usually all at once!

1 comment

  • I have been familiarising myself with Graffeg’s website as I have recently submitted some picture book manuscripts. As I sit on the other side of the fence as an author/ illustrator I found it so humbling and really uplifting and enlightening to read Mathew Howard’s historical diary/journey into becoming a Graffeg Publishing Director. I loved that he began as a rep for a publisher. A great way to get to know your customers and to know what is selling and what is not. And the fact that he has a wholehearted hands on approach to all aspects of the processes of Graffeg; from marketing to commissioning. And to being so passionate about the relationship that he has with both the commission; the author/illustrator and working relationship; and most importantly, the end product/ result that is the beauty of the book. And he’s right. It isn’t about the money. It’s about the love of the job. And as a writer/ illustrator I couldn’t agree more. Thank you Graffeg and to Mathew for sharing your personal publishing experiences. I was very humbled. Jane.

    Jane Griffiths-Jones

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