Welcome to the next installment in my Publishing series with the help of HarperCollins Canada!
I am very excited to really kick things into gear with one of the areas in this field that is personally very interesting to me. I find it fascinating how different marketing campaigns are developed and executed for different books as well as how the overall look of a book (love a fun rhyme) comes to life. A lot goes into these decisions so allow me to introduce you to Jesse Dorey who is a Creative Assistant in the Marketing department at HarperCollins Canada to shine a bit more light on his role. Kaylee: How do you come up with a marketing plan or design for each book? Jesse: I’m not responsible for coming up with marketing plans and I don’t design the book covers, but I do have a voice in the creative direction of the marketing campaigns, as my primary role involves designing the assets we use throughout these marketing campaigns. Usually I use elements from the book cover (or the stories themselves) to create these designs, but sometimes I draw inspiration from other designs that I’ve seen used elsewhere. It all depends on the book. K: What has your education/career journey been like to get here? J: My path to publishing has been rather circuitous. I spent five years at McMaster University, where I completed a BA in English Literature and Cultural Studies/Critical Theory and an MA in English Literature. After school, I did everything I could that was related to books – I worked at Indigo, sat on the marketing committee of a local literary festival, started up an arts journal with some friends, and got some freelance writing gigs. After a couple of rough contract gigs outside of the publishing industry, I decided to return to books and enroll in the Ryerson Publishing program. About three months into the program, I lucked out and got an internship at HarperCollins. Two years later and I’m still hanging around. K: What is included as part of your day-to-day work? J: Because of the nature of my role, my schedule varies significantly from day-to-day. Sometimes my to-do list is very, very design heavy, and other times it’s almost exclusively data entry. Typically, though, my daily tasks involve some combination of: (1) designing assets to support marketing campaigns; (2) assisting with some of our digital marketing initiatives; and (3) assisting with our Indigo outreach program. K: What is something that is a part of your job that was unexpected? J: The main thing I wasn’t expecting was just how connected all of the departments are throughout the entire publication process. In my previous work experiences, everything was so regimented and there was very little crossover between departments. In this role, however, there is constant crossover, as the marketing department works very closely with both publicity and sales. K: What is the level of collaboration between you and the author? J: Since I do the vast majority of my work behind-the-scenes, I don’t have a ton of collaboration with authors. Luckily, though, the publicity department is always open to letting me tag along to events, so I’ve been lucky enough to meet and chat with some of my favourite authors! While each book is truly unique, it is interesting to see that collaboration is very important in each project. Taking inspiration from many different areas seems to really help in the process to bring layers to its design. When you open up a new book, there is a clear look to it that translates from the written work to how it appears on the page. There is a title page that may require a graphic or particular typography, not to mention chapter headers and font. I love looking at these details when I open a new book as it furthers to entrench me in its pages. On the Marketing side of things, all of this is also true. If you don’t have collaboration or a clear vision of the overall look, you won’t be able to tailor the campaign to suit the story. There are some marketing campaigns that I have seen which go above and beyond what I could have expected and even include a box of goodies to accompany the feel of the book. Specifically, I received a package from HarperCollins Canada a few years ago for the Canadian release of The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu and it came in a box that was designed to match the aesthetic along with specially designed post cards tied together with twine and a few packages of camps snacks. It was thoughtful and such fun to open! I think if I were to work in publishing, Marketing or Design would likely be where I would want to end up… but also maybe Acquisitions. The whole industry is just to interesting and exciting to me and I can’t wait to share more Q&A’s with you in the coming weeks!