Chloe Coome, Marketing and Publicity Officer at The O’Brien Press
How I started in publishing
I’m originally from Toronto, Canada and moved to California for university to study English. My creative writing professor connected me with the editor at their publishing house and this led to an internship, giving me my first taste of publishing. I gave notes on submissions from the slush pile, evaluated book covers, wrote blurbs – the fun stuff!
After graduation, I returned to Toronto and received my Master’s in Literatures of Modernity at Ryerson University. This involved work placement at a literary agency. After graduation, now with a few internships under my belt, I landed my first job in publishing, as a Sales Assistant with Oxford University Press’ Toronto division. I mostly worked in the primary and secondary school educational sector, and I really enjoyed my team.
It also introduced me to the fast-paced nature of publishing, and I realised pretty quickly there would rarely be a dull moment!
I moved to Dublin during the pandemic and was able to work with OUP remotely until getting a job with Gill Books, working again in the education department as a Sales Assistant. It can be challenging to break into publishing in one place, not to mention two, so it felt serendipitous to see a similar job in Dublin to the one I already had and it was a great introduction into the Irish publishing industry.
Where I work now
I am currently Marketing & Publicity Officer for The O’Brien Press. I am responsible for running social media pages, planning book launches and authors events, contacting media outlets to build review mailing lists, designing promotional graphics, submitting titles for awards, and pitching authors for festivals (to name a few!).
It is a small company, so it also allows for the opportunity to learn across all departments, something I greatly enjoy.
The best thing about my role
While it may be a publishing cliché, there’s nothing I enjoy more than talking about the books that mean something to me, so being able to make a profession out of promoting books that I am passionate about and ensuring they have the best possible platform so someone can discover (and hopefully love!) them as much as I do, is something I find very fulfilling.
A mistake I made
I plan a lot of author events, especially in October which is when children’s festivals across Ireland take place. I’m most often the go-between person for the festival and author to ensure everything is arranged and the events go smoothly.
I had made it through most of October without issue, until the very last two events with one author. I had emailed them that morning to check in and included the event details. The author immediately emailed me back and said something along the lines of, ‘I thought I was going to X today, are you sure it’s Y?’ This led to immediate panic on my part, as I realised I had mixed up two dates and locations on the schedule I had sent them.
To make matters worse, it was cutting it very close to the start time with further travel involved than they intended, and the author was dependent on a third-party driver who wasn’t prepared to leave earlier. Thankfully, both author and library were incredibly understanding when I explained my error and ultimately, the author made it just in time.
Since then, I have made sure to triple check my itineraries before sending them to the authors. It is also a good reminder that when dealing with many moving parts it is best to take more time and be thorough rather than move too quickly and risk making mistakes.
My best moment so far
I don’t know if I have one moment exactly. I’d say my best moments are in my current role, when an author is nominated for an award I submitted them for, or when they email me to tell me they had a great visit at a local school, or when I successfully pitch them for a festival.
Knowing I played a part in connecting them to opportunities to have their work recognized and enjoyed – these are when I feel the most proud.
What the future holds
That’s a big question! I’m not yet a year in my current role, so I want to continue to grow within it. I would like to further sharpen my social media skills and continue to discover new promotional opportunities for our authors.
I’m also still (relatively) new to Ireland, so I hope to get more involved in the literary community as a whole.
A book recommendation this month
I’ve just finished reading Rachel Cusk’s Outline Trilogy, so I’m going to recommend the first book in the trilogy, Outline.
Set in Athens, the rarely named protagonist, Faye, is a visiting novelist teaching a creative writing course. The books are set up as a series of conversations with the people she encounters, confessional vignettes which can seem deceptively trivial before morphing into something else entirely. Well worth a read.