Me and My Job: Michael Watson
1. What is your job title and company? And roughly how many people work for your company?
I’m a Senior Publicist at Repeater Books, part of Watkins Publishing. There are five people working for our imprint, though the publishing house is larger.
2. What are your qualifications and working background, and when and how did you take on your current job?
I studied history at university and have done two publishing internships. Before I started at Repeater in 2018 I was working in adult education and public history.
3. What does your average working day entail?
Lots of emails! I’m usually juggling pitching reviews and features and organising media appearances and events. If I’m not doing this I’m stuffing envelopes or planning campaigns with authors.
4. What do you enjoy most about your job?
Meeting new people; we work with a diverse range of authors and books, and that always keeps it interesting.
5 What achievements are you most proud of?
It would be either seeing Lesley Chow’s brilliantly original work on women in music You’re History on the New York Times’s summer reading recommendations this year, or the recent publicity campaigns for Paint Your Town Red by Matthew Brown and Rhian E. Jones and Junglist by Andrew Green and Eddie Otchere.
6. What are your biggest challenges?
The job involves paying attention to social media, and I sometimes find it a challenge to step away from it.
7. What have you experienced in your job and publishing that you didn’t expect?
Publishing has occasionally led me to some wonderful and unusual places, including book launches at a rave, a former dockers club and on a canal boat.
8. What is the best thing about working for an independent publisher?
I enjoy the autonomy and camaraderie of working in a small team and the speed at which you can make things happen. I also enjoy the problem-solving aspect and the DIY ethos.
9. How do you switch off from your work?
I enjoy cooking and going on long walks seeking out little-known architectural gems around London.
10. How have Covid and lockdowns impacted your work-life balance and general wellbeing?
Both positively and negatively. While I haven’t always enjoyed working from my bedroom, it has allowed me some space to slow down and reassess my work priorities.
11. What have you done to try to stay well and motivated during the pandemic?
Boxing and running—I’m planning to run a marathon one day.
12. What advice would you give anyone wanting to start or progress a career in publishing?
As well as doing two publishing internships, getting experience in industries outside of the immediate realm of publishing, such as in events and the service industry, gave me invaluable transferable skills and an edge in job interviews.