Me and My Job: Christy Beale
1. What is your job title and company? And roughly how many people work for your company?
I’m assistant production editor in the pre-press department at Boydell & Brewer. We’re an academic publisher with around 30 employees, with offices in the UK and US.
2. What are your qualifications and working background, and when and how did you take on your current job?
I studied Modern Languages at Exeter University and graduated in 2020. As part of my degree I spent a year abroad teaching English as a foreign language—it was a great experience, but I knew I was not looking to forge a career in education. My main passions have always been reading and language, so publishing was always in the back of my mind as a career path. I was lucky enough to find some work experience with the independent trade publisher Peirene Press in late 2020, which gave me a real taste of the industry and what working in publishing entails. I actually found my current role on the IPG jobs board in early 2021, and I jumped at the opportunity!
3. What does your average working day entail?
A normal day starts with checking emails. Then it could involve anything from preparing manuscripts to send to copyeditors, typesetting, sending out proofs, correcting returned manuscripts, commissioning cover designs, creating ebooks, preparing paperback editions or a combination of all of this! There is certainly never a dull moment as the job is so varied.
4. What do you enjoy most about your job?
Beyond the variety, I really enjoy working as part of a small team. The company culture is very personable and it has allowed me to gain exposure to the inner workings of the industry in a way that perhaps wouldn’t have been possible had I joined a larger firm.
5. What achievements are you most proud of?
When I started, I got great satisfaction—and still do!—from seeing file copies of titles I had typeset arrive in the office, having only recently come to terms with using the software. More recently, my team and I have been working to improve the accessibility of our ePubs and I am pleased to say that we have managed to make some significant improvements, most notably the ability to add alt text to images.
6. What is the best thing about working for an independent publisher?
Having a close working relationship with authors as well as with colleagues; and of course cross-departmental collaboration within a small company. We are also employee-owned: beyond the obvious benefit of being able to feel confident we won’t be swallowed up overnight, this also gives me a voice in the company and determining the direction it takes.
7. How do you switch off from your work?
I like going to the gym, reading, and enjoy cooking when I have the time; living in Italy instilled in me an insatiable appetite for good food!
8. What advice would you give anyone wanting to start or progress a career in publishing?
Reach out to publishers for work experience opportunities even if they are not hiring—this demonstrates a real enthusiasm to get into the industry and I am sure that the short placement I was able to undergo gave me an edge when applying for my role. I would also advise being open to working in a range of departments—roles in production can come across as rather enigmatic for those who are only just learning about the industry compared to other departments such as editorial and marketing, for example, but I am so glad that I stumbled into production—it suits me down to the ground.