Industry Insights: Olivia Jeggo
By Leyla Mehmet, Elizabeth Guess, Kathryn Smith and Aimee Whittle
For this issue, we interviewed Olivia Jeggo to find out more about her role as a Marketing Assistant at Chicken House.
What drew you towards a marketing career in the publishing industry and in particular, children’s book publishing?
I have wanted to work in publishing for what feels like forever and used to bore all my friends by talking to them about an industry that, to me, was always really fascinating. I could talk about books forever, but never really picked up any skill in creative writing, despite going to university for an English degree. I have always been addicted to BookTube, so going into a sector that merged both social media and books seemed like something only dreams were made of. As cliché as it sounds, books that I loved as a child are what led me to become so passionate about so many books today. The opportunity to work in an environment where I can promote books that I love whilst also creating content AND knowing that the books I’m marketing would inspire other children around the world is a dream to me.
What did you look for when applying for jobs in publishing?
When I was applying for jobs in publishing, I was super open-minded about what roles I applied for. I had my heart set on PR and marketing, but in the COVID-19 job climate, I was very aware that jobs were becoming more and more difficult to find. I am originally from Hertfordshire, but I knew that moving away for a job in publishing was something I was completely open-minded about. I quite literally would’ve made any sacrifice in the world if it meant working with books! When the role I am currently in came up, I had a really good feeling about it and couldn’t be happier to have landed the job!
Are there any key skills or experiences you feel are beneficial/necessary to have before starting?
Having a passion for reading and good knowledge of books in general is helpful. When you’re being interviewed, particularly for entry-level roles, passion and a willingness to learn was something I was always told is a key thing recruiters are looking for. In hindsight, the one thing I wish I had done before even applying for jobs in the industry is following more people who already have a job in books on social media. I think this would have been helpful, purely for finding resources and learning some publishing lingo beforehand. There are really good resources for publishing hopefuls online – YouTube was the one place I went for when it came to tips and tricks for interviews.
What are your main responsibilities as a Marketing Assistant at Chicken House?
My main responsibilities are looking after social media accounts for Chicken House, as well as general admin such as mailings, awards submissions, organising travel for author events, etc. My favourite part of the job is coming up with ideas for social media content, especially TikTok. I love seeing what’s trending on the platform and then utilising that to help our books be seen by as many people as possible. I also love creating digital assets for us to use on our platforms – designing new GIFs and videos to use on Twitter and Instagram is one of the highlights of the job. I also attend regular meetings for editorial, marketing, sales, etc, which I find good in terms of learning about all areas of the business and the way all these sectors work together cohesively.
How do you feel the rise of social media platforms has shaped the way people interact with books?
I feel like more people are becoming aware of how great reading is, which sounds odd, but we are a generation who have grown up with social media and a multitude of different forms of technology. I feel as if books became thought of as something only the older generation were interested in, particularly due to social media. The growth of BookTok, BookTube and Bookstagram has been great in terms of spotlighting great literary talent and making books accessible to a whole new audience of people.
What surprises people most about your job?
How forward facing it is! Making TikToks is something I really enjoy, but I think people seeing my face all over their page is something that shocked a lot of them at first. It’s something I was initially nervous about doing, but ultimately, it’s something I love and I have the support of all my incredible friends. I am no longer embarrassed about putting myself out there in the name of a good book!