Indie Insider Newsletter: An Interview with Sophie Bennett
By Kayley Stanbridge
This issue we speak to Sophie Bennett who works on The Indie Insider newsletter. With the oversaturation of media online, it can often be hard for smaller presses to get the word out about their books as effectively as larger publishing houses who have bigger budgets for marketing and a larger following overall. The newsletter was originally founded by Elise Middleton and Grace Robinson and is now managed by Sophie and her colleagues. It aims to help to tackle this issue and bring more attention to some of the amazing titles that these independent publishers have coming out.
Tell us about the newsletter?
“The Indie Insider is a monthly newsletter featuring reviews, spotlights on independent publishers and bookshops and exciting news about all things independent publishing. We love the work being done by smaller presses and imprints and want to highlight some of the fantastic titles that might not be getting enough attention in the mainstream media.”
What inspired you to work on the newsletter?
“During the pandemic, I wrote an article for a university newspaper on independent businesses to support as lockdown restrictions began to ease. I have always tried to support independent bookshops and publishers, so it felt right to include a local independent bookshop. During my research, I came across The Indie Insider and loved the work that the previous team were doing.”
How long have you been working on it, when did it launch?
“The newsletter launched in August 2020. Constance Lam, Lauren Steele, Harriet Thornely, Ashley Eyvanaki and I released our first issue celebrating Women in Translation this August.”
Have you faced many challenges during this process, how have you overcome these challenges?
“The team and I really wanted to produce the newsletter and our social media posts in a style and manner which were in keeping with the previous team’s work whilst also introducing our own style and ideas. I think we have managed this well. Our Social Media Manager, Ashley Eyvanaki, has created some fantastic graphics and content which are in line with the overall image of The Indie Insider, whilst also reflecting that we have moved into a new phase. Our Editors; Constance Lam, Lauren Steele and Harriet Thornely, have also risen to the challenge when writing reviews and spotlights. We have already introduced a new section in the newsletter and have a few more elements that we want to add in the coming months.”
What skills have you developed during this process?
“Personally, I have developed my proofreading, copy editing, canva, reviewing and communication and organisational skills.”
Which blogs/magazines/newsletters/creators/podcasts inspire you?
“I love The Indie List, created by our very own Lauren Steele. I have also been inspired by Parthian Books’ Talking Translations blog this August as it really explores the role of the translator in translated literature. Finally, Bad Form has to be mentioned - I would highly recommend subscribing to their newsletter.”
What goals do you have that you want to achieve in the next months/years with The Indie Insider?
“We want to increase our audience so that independent books and news can reach as many people as possible. We also want to increase our engagement with our followers and news about how we intend to do this will be released on our socials in the coming months.”
Do you want to work in the publishing industry? What would your ideal role be?
“I would love to work as an Editorial Assistant.”
Why do you want to work in publishing?
“I have been an avid reader since I was a child and the prospect of having a career in publishing books would be a childhood dream come true. I will never grow tired of reading and engaging with people’s stories. Experiencing the journey of a book through the editorial process appeals not only to my love for stories but also to my detail-oriented nature.”
What appeals to you about this industry?
“I love that the industry is so varied. New books, stories and characters are constantly being created. The publishing industry also appeals to me due to its collaborative working style. I am excited at the prospect of working with authors, editors, sales teams, marketing teams and the many others who bring books to your bookshelves. It is an added bonus that everyone will have a love of books in common.”
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Thank you to Sophie, for participating in this interview for this issue and telling us more about The Indie Insider!